Let’s now look at the last three traits of the Fruit of the Spirit. These three graces are directed more toward us, the individual Christian. The Lord expects His disciples to learn and develop these in their own spirituality.
Faithfulness (is written just as “Faith” in the KJV). Jesus told His disciples to, “Have faith in God,” (Mark 11:22). It is a word that means “loyal in affection; constant; reliable, trusted, or believed.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary states that it is “a firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing,” (Vol. 2, Pg. 71). Read how it’s described in Hebrews 11:1. The same chapter of Hebrews lists many wonderful Old Testament examples of faithfulness (11:7-40). But, look at what is said about faith in verse 6, just before that passage. How important is faith? The truth is, every child of God should be faithful to Him (1 Corinthians 4:2). Not because a preacher says so, but because of a love for the Lord.
You can develop faithfulness in your spiritual walk by first praying about it. Ask God to help you increase your faith (Luke 17:5). Since the Bible says, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17), you should study and learn God’s word daily in order to increase your faith. Consider also what John says in John 20:30,31. Strive to walk in the Light! (1 John 1:7) Notice the order of words in Galatians 5:16. Paul says walking in the Spirit comes first, then the fruit comes. This is because without the Spirit, you’ll never be able to say “no” to the lusts of the flesh!
The KJV and the ASV render this word as “Meekness.” Don’t confuse this word with how some translations use “gentleness” in verse 22 for “kindness”! It’s a word most often translated as “meekness.” It means a “mildness of disposition; a gentleness of spirit.” We might describe it also as submissiveness, peacefulness, or mildness. Thayer’s Dictionary says gentleness is a “mildness of disposition; a gentleness of spirit; meekness.” It is something that is exercised “outward” because it is a condition of the heart and the mind.
Read Titus 3:1-2; James 3:13. How is a meek person described in those verses? The assumption of the world is that a gentle (meek) person is defenseless, or cannot help themselves. However, meekness is not weakness! It is a fruit of power. Moses is described as “very meek” in Numbers. 12:3, yet no one would consider him to be weak. The Lord was gentle, but He certainly was not weak — as He had infinite divine resources available to Him (Matt. 11:29). Meekness equates to restraint. It is described as “power under control.” In other words, a meek Christian, who may wield great power, does not throw his weight around.
In order to develop meekness in your spiritual walk, start by praying. Read your Bible and study the examples of meekness. Samson, for example, had a lack thereof, but Elijah, David, Jesus, and others are great examples of meekness. Put it into practice by learning to restrain the tongue, (James 3:2-12) and restraining your actions, (Colossians 3:17).
The KJV uses “Temperance.” The final grace of the Fruit of the Spirit that a Christian should have is self-control. This is something that is exercised “inward.” It is the “virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites,” (Thayer). Self-control involves controlling our actions, our outburst of feelings, our temper, our tongue, and the desire for money and power. Paul reasoned with the Roman governor, Felix , about this trait, (Acts 24:25).
Notice that the lusts of the world are called “the works of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19-21). Such things keep us from entering heaven, or having access to eternal life. We have the power within us to refuse participating in worldly affairs, (1 Thess. 5:22). It’s an attitude of submitting to the will of God. It is the opposite of how the majority live their lives. But, a child of God is commanded to render his life as a living sacrifice, (Rom. 12:1-2). This requires self-control!
Developing Self-control in your spiritual life, again, begins with prayer. Did you happen to notice that each started with prayer? It is because these are fruit of the SPIRIT, not of our own willpower. Of course, all are followed by, “Read your Bible!” This is because being able to combat temptation with “It is written” (Luke 4:4,8,12), requires knowing the Word of God well. In addition, you can develop self-control by not putting yourself in situations to sin, by avoiding temptation triggers.