I wish that the fruit of the spirit was something like a personality test. Then I could figure out where I score highest and brag to everyone about how special I am. Plus, when I figured out what my weak points were, I could make excuses – this is just who I am, right?
But no, unfortunately the point of this list in Galatians is that these qualities are something that everyone who is in Christ should be carrying. So I want to make this as practical as possible for myself.
Step 1. Identify Problem Areas
Despite the fact that it is not a personality test, I decided to draw a wheel of the fruits. Well, it turned out more like an egg, but I’m calling it a wheel anyway, because it needs spokes. Every fruit gets a line, in accordance with how well I think I am doing in that area. It pretty much lines up with what I naturally find easy – Joy, Peace, and Patience. I was not so strong on goodness, gentleness, or self control.
Step 2. Evaluate Problems
So apparently I’m naturally more likely to bear fruit that benefits me, primarily. Okay, that’s helpful. Knowing what my three weakest points are gives me a place to start improving. What is the internal reason why self control is lacking in my life, for example? I already know the natural reason – I would rather do what’s easy rather than what’s right or beneficial. What could I do to help the spirit, which longs for what is right, to become more powerful than my physical desires, which long for what is easy and fun.
Step 3. Create a Plan
So, being like Kristen Bell in The Good Place, I know that I need self control. I need it to control my words, emotions, to show up for my workouts, to control my impulses, and to make sure that I’m being a good neighbor to my housemates. What’s next? Because this fruit is “fruit of the spirit” and not “fruit of the willpower,” I know that I am not going to be pushing myself to wake up at 4 AM for daily runs, creating meal plans and budgets and going about it that way.
But I can pray daily for the self control I will need. I can read the scriptures for insight (I particularly like proverbs for this purpose). And lastly, I can participate in my church community in Bible studies and small groups and let them know that I want to grow this fruit.
It might not be easy, it might not be fun, but is anything worth doing really easy?