Just a few of our fruit-filled counselors serving at camp this week!


The Wednesday Word Devotional for July 26, 2023.

“Self Control” by Julie Hart, Director of Connectional Ministries

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and SELF CONTROL. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

So here we are. We have come to the end of the Fruit of the Spirit devotional series. It’s no wonder that self-control is the last attribute listed in the Fruit of the Spirit. I think it’s kind of an exclamation point at the end of the list. As if to say, this is important! This will take work!! All of it!!!

As I write this, I am up at Potosi Pines camp serving at the last camp of the summer. We are on day three of a five-day camp. From the moment we wake up until we hit our bunks at night, we are busy doing things — and we are doing them together as a community. At Potosi, we are very intentional about getting kids to camp who most need to experience God’s love in their lives, including kids in the foster care system. Our counselors work hard to show this love to their campers and (aside from a few breaks) they are with their campers 24/7. Now that takes some self-control!

Yesterday I witnessed this self-control with two of our counselors in one of our girls’ cabins. They have some of what we call EGR (extra grace required) campers in their cabin who were struggling with some behaviors. I visited their cabin during FOB (flat on bunk) time and watched as the counselors addressed their campers about some of the behaviors that had been going on. The counselors were tired and frustrated and they could have easily gathered the campers together and yelled at them and thrown down the law. Instead, they exercised self-control and calmly and quietly sat with them and helped them to create a cabin covenant. Part of the covenant was about how bedtime would go for the rest of the week, since it had not gone well on the first night of camp. Each camper got to contribute to the covenant which they all signed before hanging it up in their cabin.

When I visited them again last night after a VERY FULL afternoon and an evening of bat hunting, grape stomping, silly skits, and more, it was time to go to bed. The campers were bouncing off the walls with energy and excitement from their day. Instead of yelling at them to go to bed, the counselors reviewed their covenant, turned out the lights, sang a song, read a book, praised them for their great behavior, and went to bed. Just like that!

Campers will be heading down the mountain in about 50 hours from the time that I am writing this. What do we hope to send them home with? Well, aside from the fact that I always hope and pray that they will leave camp knowing that they are loved by us and loved by God, I want them to go back home with spiritual fruit that is a little juicier than when they arrived at camp. And that will take the self-control to:

Love ALL others, not as the world loves, but as God loves.

Serve God and serve others joyfully, no matter their circumstances.

Be peacemakers and not conflict-creators.

Be patient with the people even when they frustrate them.

Be kind to all, even when others do not show kindness back to them.

Choose goodness towards others rather than being tempted to think and act only for themselves.

Faithfully give their time, talent, gifts, service, and witness to build up God’s kingdom.

Choose gentleness and respond to others with compassion.

Campers are learning (just as we are) that it’s no accident that the Fruit of the Spirit starts with love and ends with self-control. They beautifully bookend the attributes that God wants to see in all of us.

Thank you for going on this journey with me for the past nine weeks. I believe that these reminders will bear fruit in our homes, our church, and our lives.

God bless you,

Julie 🙂