Smorgasbord Tuesday: Fruit of the Spirit Self-Control

Okay, get out your box of Kleenex (sniff, sniff) this is the last week with the fruit of the Spirit! This has been a 9 week journey and I hope that you have had as much fun as I have had. Okay, I could go on and on but I'm really just stalling because today's fruit of the Spirit is self-control. Who really wants to talk about self-control? Anyone? I see no hands!

This journey began with the fruit of the Spirit love and I think that was the perfect start, because love is the foundation of this whole thing: knowing that we are loved by God and then giving love to all those around us. The journey ends with self-control and I again think this is the perfect ending to this topic. Just like we can't do any of this without love, self-control is the perfect way to get all those other things we talked about into action.

Self-control as a fruit of the Holy Spirit is a perfect example of this balancing act that we've been in this whole journey. One the one hand, these are fruits of the Holy Spirit and so we know that it is an attribute of God that we get to have in our lives. On the other hand, we know that these fruits aren't just "mystical" things bestowed on us without any effort on our part. Self-control is something that we need to put into action, but we also see that it is a fruit of the Spirit, so to have it in a life-changing way will not exist apart from our relationship with the Holy Spirit! I don't know how you've landed on this journey with understanding this balancing act but I've definitely leaned way more into the Holy Spirit to receive all these fruits than I ever have before, and self-control will be no exception!

As we probably all well know self-control is not an attribute of American culture rather the opposite of self-control i.e. self-indulgence is rampant in our society. From Nike's "Just Do It" to commercials that say "Have it NOW" we and our children are being bombarded by the exact opposite message. I am asking you to take an extra minute to step back with me and see exactly what the Bible has to say about the benefits of self-control in our lives.

Proverbs 25:28
Like a city whose walls are broken down
is a man who lacks self-control.

The full appreciation of this verse is lost on us because of cultural differences, but today's version might say "like a country whose missile defense system is broken, is a man who lacks self-control." As we see in this verse and will see in verses to come self-control is our system of protection. I believe one of the most important things you can teach your children is self-control. The ability to control yourself and not give in to every urge that comes your way will go a long way for your kids. Also, as I said earlier the other fruits such as patience and faithfulness will not work very well unless you have learned to control and stop those initial fleshly reactions.

If you read the book of Titus you will see the word self-control emphasized and given out to everyone. It asks older men, young men, older women and young women to be self-controlled. It also states that elders and deacons should exhibit self-control. We learn in II Timothy that the lack of self-control will be a sign of the last days. Let us, as the people of God, rise above our society and our culture and exhibit self-control and teach our children to be self-controlled. This is not something that is for the "mature" in Christ but it is a necessity for our protection and the protection of the church. We have seen far too often in our culture the damage that is done to the body of Christ when those in leadership are caught in a sin that took place because of the lack of self-control.

I Peter 5:8
Be self-controlled and alert.
Your enemy the devil prowls around
like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Resist him, standing firm in the faith.

This verse warns us to be self-controlled and alert. Guess what, you have an enemy out there prowling around and he is looking for a wide open door to run through. It seems like the lack of self-control is one of the ways of opening up the door to the enemy and saying pick on me, pick on me! We, however, can and should resist him and one of the ways we do this is through exhibiting self-control.

I Thessalonians 5:8
But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled,
putting on faith and love as a breastplate,
and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

Putting Your Clothes on will be one of the ways you can operate in the area of self-control.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.
On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
We demolish arguments and every pretension
that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

A second way to grow in the area of self-control in your life is to take this verses to heart and begin applying them. Take whatever area you are struggling in the area of self-control whether eating, anger, lust etc and begin to submit those thoughts to Christ. We have the power to demolish strongholds. Lets begin doing it!

1 comment:

  1. I love that verse: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; actually did a search this morning for it for a friend (and for me too!)


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