Cultivating Character | Fruit of the Spirit

3 minutes

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience (forbearance), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control ~ Galatians 5:22-23

Dear Reader, this season I have decided on writing a series centered on character development, specifically, cultivating femininity within the area of character. Why, you ask? Because the area of our character is one of particular interest to our heavenly father; it’s the reason He is continuously pruning and molding us. Several verses in the Bible make reference to God being the potter and us being the clay (Isaiah 29:16; Isaiah 64;8; Jeremiah 18:1-9; Romans 9:14-24) ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand.’ The imagery portrays a Father at work, molding us into his likeness and image in the area of our character. 

The book of Galatians chapter 5 verses 19 to 23 spells out the acts that the flesh births in us, contrasting that with the good works that the fruit of the spirit of God residing in us can produce when we yield to its transformative powers; these are qualities embodying love, joy, peace, patience (forbearance), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Who wouldn’t want such good fruit from their character? I know I do and it is my hope that as I write this, these qualities may be embedded deep in my mind that I too may produce a harvest of such good fruit. 

What is character? The Oxford dictionary describes it as ‘the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.’ Easily identified using descriptive adjectives, character is a set of beliefs, qualities and virtues that we have crafted and practiced throughout our lifetime. Since it is formed as we live our lives, our character can be created, it can be forged, sharpened, crafted, shaped and molded over our lifetime, no matter who you are and no matter what your personality is. Seeing as our hearts are fickle and our personality cannot be changed, that squarely leaves us the area of our character to tinker with. Pursuing godly character is certainly commendable as a goal for any human being, and the Bible certainly classifies developing our character as a worthwhile and noble pursuit. 

For most, developing character involves defining a set of morals and focusing on the virtues that one has deemed desirable to cultivate over their lifetime. For a practicing Christian, this moral set of conduct is already pre-defined in the Bible as a blueprint for one to follow; conforming to it is all one has to aspire to, and this is achieved by yielding to the spirit to work it in the individual. As a feminine woman, I desire to come fully into my own and embrace my God-given qualities thus become more of what God intended for me to be and conform more to his likeness. When one is a woman of character, beyond benefiting oneself, it also blesses others, for they then treat others better, displaying wisdom while extending patience and forgiveness. Our character, while unifying all aspects of femininity within us, also allows and enables us to create, tend to, nurture, and beautify the world around us. It’s an open secret that as women, we are naturally sensitive and in tune with those relationships around us, oftentimes even intuitively nurturing them physically, mentally and emotionally. These qualities stem from our innate biological makeup which when harnessed properly, can propel us into various backbone roles in our homes and communities, thus facilitating the forging of a strong and stable society. These inherent qualities coupled with developing a strong character can help us play these key roles better.

Good character does not mean perfection, far from it; just that we’ve worked on our weaknesses and developed virtues. While our personalities and natural instincts might be things that endure, our character is the one thing we hold sway over and thus can keep developing over our lifetime. In my humble opinion, I think that being exquisitely feminine is something to be celebrated, and as such, cultivating femininity within our character is imperative because it’s out of it that we’ll be able to nurture others, ourselves, our families, and our communities. Indeed, authentic femininity is a life-affirming quality in a woman, revealing kind and nurturing feminine character traits that we must uphold and even enhance as these are the qualities of true femininity. 

Our character can be a life-force, informing our life experiences, gifting us a well-rounded focus where it’s not just about our external comeliness but also about our character and who we are as a person. Indeed a woman outfitted into the character of that embodies the fruit of the spirit will be much more effective over her lifetime, ensuring that she and everyone around her engages in wholesome living. Thank you for joining me on the journey to Godly character development. Humbly, Helena  ღ