the fruit of the Spirit is love…and self-control.
The fruit of the Spirit in our lives as those who are believers in and followers of Christ starts with love and is summed up in love. The actual list ends with “self-control.” I personally find that helpful. Too easily we can react when love is not ruling over us at the time in ways that are not helpful or edifying. We react out of frustration or whatever else it might be. I speak from firsthand experience.
Instead, God wants us to act out of love, which often means not doing anything at all, but if we have to do something, always doing so in and out of love. Self-control may just be a natural response at times because we are being led by the Spirit. And the list here is after all the fruit of the Spirit, not something we do, but is done in us to make us that way. I would prefer mistakenly myself to think that this is something I have to work at. But that’s not the point here. At the same time, we need to seek to walk in the Spirit, be led by the Spirit. The more that’s the case, the better our response will be.
That said, we need to act according to how we know we should, regardless. We might not feel the Spirit’s influence on us at the time, at some critical juncture when we might easily react in a way that is less than helpful. In this work of the Spirit, the Spirit never just makes us automatons as if controlling us. Rather we are made agents graciously by God, alongside with God, entirely dependent on God to make all of this work. It is rather amazing to say the least.
I personally often don’t feel all that well. But that doesn’t mean that the Spirit is not at work in my life, or that I’m not, albeit in some faint way being led or walking in the Spirit. That must be my goal in all of life, whether feeling up or down. Feelings in a sense are beside the point, but we easily react in bad ways, when we feel rather bad. We need to do this regardless of whether we feel well or not.
God will help us in all of this as we commit ourselves to live in the grace God provides for us in Christ, in the freedom to live well that comes to us through the Spirit. In and through Jesus.