19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:19-26
This is an awesome passage, it shows the contrast between the good and the bad. The works of the flesh may get you where you want to go, but the road they eventually lead to is destruction. I was planning on going into some detail on each of the fruits of the spirit, but I think I will just cut to the chase. I think it’s not a mistake that they are bookended by love and self-control. Love and self-control are key to the Christian life. If you have love and self-control you will have each of these other 7 fruits that are listed. When you exhibit self-control God will do some amazing things in your life. An interesting aspect of self-control is that you are loving yourself the right way when you choose to use it. What’s so special about it is it’s a life choice that we make, a conscience decision. God will honor that by giving you even more strength to do things you never thought possible in your life. For me it was taking the steps toward long distance running. I never like to run all my life, but when I decided to run for weight loss it was the best decision I ever made in my life. It boosted my confidence, plus the weight loss, and it helped me love myself the way God loves me. Self-control and the works of the flesh cannot exist in dimension. You cannot have self-control when you do any of the works of the flesh. Self-control will take you places you never been before and heights you never thought you could climb.