But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal. 5:22, 23)
Why is self-control the last fruit of the Spirit? That is, if self-control shows up in our interactions last, how does the other fruit show up? For years I thought that the fruit in this verse appeared in chronological order. You know – love produces joy; joy produces peace; peace produces patience, and so on. But that kicks self-control to the back of the process. I ask myself some days, “How will I come to love these dear people unless I’m exhibiting a measure of self-control when I’m around them?”
Perhaps it’s more like a walk through an orchard. As you walk through rows of apples trees there, you may stop and admire the fruit of one tree or another, but the truth is that they are in fact growing concurrently. God seems to highlight individual fruit as the need to grow (or prune unwanted parts) arises.
Today I’m praying that for all of us, cultivating the fruit of self-control is just as sweet, savory, and satisfying as the other eight.