The preacher preaches, and so the preacher matters. A personality that doesn’t reflect the fruit of the Spirit, the character of Christ, is a personality undermining the truth being proclaimed. So let’s finish the list…
Faithfulness – The issue with faith is always the object. We can’t have faith in ourselves, our skills, our preparation, our training, our gifting, etc. And we can’t place our faith in the audiences, whatever their size. Our faith has to be in God. This points back to patience, but it is more than that. Not only do we keep pressing on over time, but we also need to demonstrate faithfulness in every circumstance. We may be preaching to hundreds or thousands one day, and to a handful the next. Our faithfulness should show in both situations. We are trusting God and giving our best to the tiny gathering, and we are trusting God not the occasion with the larger gathering.
Faithfulness in preparation means we don’t offer shoddy sermons. Faithfulness in accepting bookings means we follow through. Faithfulness in delivery means we give ourselves fully, even if it does mean being wiped out at the end.
Self-Control – It is so easy to do damage with your words. You can say too much, violate privacy, twist the truth, deceive, belittle others, etc. And all before you pause for thought. Self-control is a critical fruit of the Spirit for biblical preachers. Keeping a tight rein on our tongues is so important. I read somewhere about the ancient wisdom that the human tongue is like an arrow, not just a sword. That is, if you unsheath your sword to kill your friend, he may plead with you, beg for mercy and you may return the sword to its sheath. But once an arrow is shot, you simply cannot return it to the quiver, no matter how much you want to do so.
Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. The fruit of the Spirit. Required for preachers. But one is missing . . . tomorrow.