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When I hear fruits of the Spirit listed in order, I had always wondered why was “self control” listed last? Was it because it was the fruit most difficult to harvest? Was it the fruit that offered the most grace because it was so hard to sow and reap? Maybe so.

While in prayer, Holy Spirit showed me this: “Self Control is the richest fruit of all.”

There is an order to everything. In Heaven and on Earth.

Without the harvesting of the other fruits first, self control inherently cannot be produced.

The sowing and reaping of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness, are purposely positioned in this ordained order so that the fruit of self-control can ripen to its intended and full purpose.

Self control is the hardest fruit to grow in and obtain. Self control requires the ability to control our thoughts, emotions and actions. And when you have experienced unhealed traumas like myself, self control becomes really difficult to manage when suddenly a reaction to a trigger turns into self destruction quickly crumbling the solid foundation you thought you once stood on.

As easy as it is to be captured in disappointment by our own failures of self control, the one thing we can look forward to is that there is always a lesson to learn to apply to the next similar circumstance. One of the main lessons I have noticed come up every time trying to mature in this fruit, is grace.

When we truly start living our lives out of the place of grace the desire is to mature in this fruit, is to leave sin behind. We are then in full understanding and agreement that sin simply means it separates us from God. When we no longer choose to remain separated, a grace lifestyle becomes natural and makes the harvest easy to attain.

“For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law but under grace.” Romans 6:14

So, what do I do when I mess up big? I start over. Again and again until I master it a bit better each time the situation arises. Sometimes, that harvest comes quickly and bountiful. Other times, it is a pruning season, where it takes a bit more time, it becomes more of a slow growth to make sure I can capture the depth of the self control needed to produce a harvest long term.

We reap what we sow.

The sowing to self control requires our full reliance on Holy Spirit. He is the greatest source and counselor. Commitment to persevere is required in the hard moments, while mindfulness is a daily choice that will make the most difference in how and when the richest fruit of all can be harvested well.

A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls. Proverbs 25:28

~ Stefanie Rodriguez

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