Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

I have decided to translate temperance as humility in my understanding of the fruits of the Spirit. It is my understanding that these fruits are produced by the Holy Spirit and not by human effort. This lesson was brought to mind by fruit trees that produce fruit by the nature of the tree and not by the effort of the tree.

Most other translation replace temperance with self-control. If I were able to control myself, that would be a force of will on my part and not a product of the Holy Spirit. The NLV translates temperance as “being the boss of your own desires”. This only confirmed to me that a better understanding of this fruit of the spirit is required.

Humiliation is a close relative of humility. The source of humiliation is external and one is humbled against his will; shame is at the center of humiliation. Humility on the other hand is a character trait which enforces control over conduct.

I am familiar with two cardiovascular surgeons. One is rude and abrasive, has no bedside manners and could care less about the patient. His ego is out of control. When I confronted him on his rudeness he replied, “My ego allows me to do things better than anyone else. Do you want polite or the best when your heart is in another man’s hands.” The other surgeon is just as skilled but he is a humble and gentle man. Humility of character keeps his ego in check. His ego allows him to do the work but his humility prevents his ego from infecting the rest of his behavior.

Since the Holy Spirit is in charge of spiritual character development, I yield to humility over self-control.


Nehemiah 8:6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon returns an answer for amen which is tied very closely to faithfulness. The document states “Its proper place is where one person confirms the words of another, and expresses a wish for the issue of his vows or predictions; fiat, ita sit; Amen, so be it;”

I had asked for a definition in Sunday School class one day for amen. I waited for the typical answer found on the lips of most Christians, “I agree”. A young lady answered in the spirit with the most perfect of answers which reached back thru time and illuminated that answer found in this Lexicon.

“May it be so with me.”

She expressed the wish of the issue of the vow in a most personal way. Not that I simply agree, but let it be done unto me according to your Word O Lord. That is a personal response that goes beyond belief and agreement, it indicates faithfulness.

So many times I hear statements of faith that are safe because they see no risk in agreement. It is so easy to agree when you don’t have skin in the game. We praise God in forgiveness, mercy and grace when it is extended towards us.

Matthew 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.


Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Self-sacrifice sounds easy until we come up against that moment when self takes the driver’s seat. We start heading towards the intersection of mercy and forgiveness because we failed to be AMEN in that moment.