Growing In Meekness and Temperance
As I wrap up this series of “Growing” in the fruit of the Spirit, we will look at the final two mentioned in Galatians 5: 23 – meekness and temperance. These are two words you do not often hear in passing, and definitely not often discussed as fruit of the Spirit. I am sure, like me, you can think of a few reasons why with very little effort. These days we are taught to put ourselves first, and in so doing we need to take a bold step in doing so! Often you hear sayings such as, “stand your ground”, “don’t back down”, ‘give them a taste of their own medicine”, etc. I don’t think meekness fits into that equation very well, and neither does temperance.
I have found during the course of my life and years of experiences, that temperance is not often exercised as a first response — especially during conflict and altercation. It is more often, “may the best man (woman) win”, or “I have a right to . . . “ But I am a firm believer that if it is in the Word of God to admonish us of our ways, it would do us well in the long run to take heed.
I find myself becoming increasingly disturbed by the deaths that are taking place daily at the hands of those choosing to resolve their issues through gun violence. The question on many people’s lips is “when is it going to end?” Well, it isn’t going to end if we take no thought to what the Bible is there to teach us. You might say, the majority of the people committing these devastating crimes are not Christians and have no desire to follow God. I will not argue with you there at all. However, those of us who are Christians must first of all be examples and the light that dispels the overwhelming darkness of this world! We cannot accomplish this when our actions in times of adversity mirror the actions of those who do not believe! There must be an unmistakable contrast instead of a blend of conformity. In other translations, apart from the King James version of this chapter and verse, the words “gentleness” and “self-control” are substituted for “meekness” and “temperance”. Gentleness and self-control make it even more clear, and in the words of a dear friend – really brings it home!
When preparing to close out this series of writings on the fruit of the Spirit, it was a simple conclusion to combine these last two, and not just for the sake of convenience. But It became a simple conclusion because the two should go hand in hand even from the viewpoint of positive character traits. It is hard to be gentle and not exercise self-control; and it is hard to be in control of oneself in many circumstances without gentleness of at least the mind. Many relationships have ended, and even worse, many lives have been lost if a person had just been in control! But it is our flawed human nature, that acts first and thinks later. A lot of those actions easily turn to regrets. Consequences cannot be erased, but they could be avoided when wise choices are made. When we act in the heat of the moment, we can expect repercussions that have not been given prior consideration.
I love how the Bible is so practical in its application if we take the time to study and put its principles into action. It is not a novel to read when we have time to relax on a casual afternoon, or as we sit still for an hour on Sunday morning listening to the preacher’s exposition of a particular portion of the scriptures. The fruit of the Spirit as outlined in Galatians 5 is for those who proclaim to be followers of Christ. Yet, it serves as a two-fold purpose that as we mature in our walk with Christ and allow these “fruits” to flourish, it is highly probable that those same “fruits” that are pleasing to God and to us, will in turn draw others to want to TASTE AND SEE!!
Source: First Lady Denise