YOUR INVISIBLE FENCE.
Let's say that one day you noticed that your friend's gigantic dog is not kept on a chain or inside a fenced area.
"You let your dog run around loose?" you ask your friend.
"Naw," your friend answers. "We've got an invisible fence."
You roll your eyes. "Yeah, right. "Your imaginary friend installed it, right?"
"No, I'm serious," your friend says. "There's an electric wire buried under the ground. Brutus wears a collar that gives him a little shock if he gets too close to the wire."
"Really?" you say.
Your friend nods. "He hasn't gone anywhere near the wire since the first time he got shocked."
"Wow," you say. "That's a pretty smart dog."
"He just stays away from stuff he knows is going to hurt him, that's all."
Actually, you've probably heard of invisible fences. You may even use one to keep your pets in your yard. As a matter of fact, you have something like an invisible fence that's designed to keep you away from stuff that's going to hurt you, too. It's called self-control, which we learned a lot about earlier this month. But did you know that self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit, too?
Suppose you're tempted to lose your temper because your little brother used your favorite baseball cap to protect his head from the orange and purple paint he used to paint his clubhouse. If the Holy Spirit controls your life, you'll probably feel a surge of strength in your spirit, helping you not to do it.
Or say you find yourself alone with your boyfriend or girlfriend, and your heart starts racing and you feel more in love than ever before and you want to do some things you know your parents would freak over. If you're controlled by God's Spirit, you'll have a fighting chance to say no to temptation and find somewhere else to be and something else to do.
The Holy Spirit already lives in you if you're a Christian. But you still need to submit to his control every day. One way to do that is by beginning each day with prayer and worship and Bible reading. Then, as the Holy Spirit controls your life, he will reproduce his own nature in you, and you'll begin to see his fruit or characteristics in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
REFLECT: Do you think the Spirit produces his fruit in our lives in order, one at a time? Or do you think he produces the fruit of the Spirit all at the same time? Is he producing fruit in your life? If so, how? If not, why not?
PRAY: Express your thanks to God for this promise from Jesus: "I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).