"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)
All this fruit is scattered around in my life. There's not been a time that all 9 were bursting forth with ripeness. But, I see how the order they're given in God's Word has been important for me. For instance, Jesus talks about the greatest commandment--love--and in Corinthians Paul says that of things to remain, love is the greatest. For me, I've had to get a revelation about love: loving God, loving others, loving myself. Then, I saw blossoms of joy popping out everywhere. Next, peace follows. With this first fruit beginning to build in my life, patience started to follow. But if I wasn't developing love, joy, and peace on a given day, I saw my patience level plummeting--crash and burn--and hurting those around me.
Without the fruit of patience being developed in life, there's not much kindness flowing out of a person. It's not fun to be around people like that. Volatile, wondering if they'll explode, basically not knowing what will set them off next: and this is for most people to some degree. My child has probably felt like this when I lose patience with her. Store clerks may have felt this tension before I learned that I don't have to behave this way. Patience is one quality that must develop under trials. Instead of beating ourselves up one more time about it, learn from how it makes you feel when you don't act right. Then you have a better chance at doing what's right the next time you have an opportunity for patience.
The other qualities that come along are all developed during our walk in this lifetime. Goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness are admirable qualities. I think of my Mama when I hear these words. We never know the impact we have on others, so the Fruit of God's Holy Spirit is a great witness to what He's doing in each of our lives. (You can't argue with Fruit...it is what it is.)
Next, we get to self-control. The last one on the list--and once again the order is very important. I had to get my love walk headed in the right direction first before I could develop some more joy and peace, patience and goodness, and down the list to self-control/self-constraint. When we try to do any of this on our own, we will fail.
The one factor, the most important thing, (what many church congregations and good-intentioned people leave out) is the POWER of GOD. It is by His Holy Spirit that all things develop, succeed, are peaceful, and point to His love. Don't be overwhelmed when you know there's lots to work on. Start with love---soak up God's love for you, love others, love yourself in a balanced way--so when you take care of yourself--you can be what you need to be for God and the people in your life. Amen!