Often we mistakenly view various forms of strength as being all from the same core. But as I’ve grown in both age and wisdom, I have realized there is a dramatic difference between true power and sheer force. Force comes from striving, whereas power comes from innate strength and a yielding to the authority that comes with it.
This is why when we try to “make” ourselves do things, we may succeed for a while but it’s hard to maintain over time because it takes so much energy to strive to be successful. Often this is because the reasons we are even trying to strive in the first place are low level emotions (e.g. dieting because of self-hatred, saving money because of a fear of lack).
True power comes as we begin to make choices from a place of love and peace (e.g. eating differently because we love ourselves enough to want to feel healthier, saving because we want to bless our future self with peace of mind). True power is actually a place of yielding to the greater good, rather than forcing something.
I’ve been spending time meditating on and creating Dyed4you Art pieces for the fruits of the spirit, and self-control was highlighted. Immediately, I felt that sting that seems to come with that one because so many of us have negative connotations associated with it. We spend countless hours in recriminating ourselves to simply “try harder.” Essentially trying to force ourselves into a place of striving. Ironically, this actually works against our success.
This makes me pause to note the order the fruits of the spirit are listed in: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Note that self-control is last. I believe this is because we need to have the other 6 in full operation to walk out the 7th in the way it was intended, which I believe the Passion Translation captures the essence of beautifully by translating self-control as strength of spirit.
So may we all walk in true strength of spirit as we learn to make choices from that place of love/joy/peace, and may the fruit that becomes evident as a result be sweet indeed!
- Galatians 5:22-23 (AMP) But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
- Galatians 5:22-23 (TPT) But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.