Monday, August 31, 2015

The Fruit of the Spirit - Self-Control

The last attribute of the fruit of the Spirit, but certainly not the least, is the quality of self-control.  This is a BIG one!

Self-control implies the restraining of oneself.  What are we supposed to keep ourselves from doing or saying?  The Bible says we are to be in control of our thoughts (2 Cor. 10:5).  We are to guard our tongues (James 3:1-9).  We are to avoid sinning in our relationships with others by not murdering, coveting, engaging in adultery, stealing, cheating, or quarreling and fighting (James 4:1-2).

Self-control is to have power over oneself.  This is not possible until we surrender to Christ’s management on our lives.  Self-control is a form of worship of God.  It’s living out His commandments by doing what He wants us to do.  Then God will fully bless us.

Self-control is about temperance, impulses, personal desires and passions.  It calls for self-discipline life following Christ’s example.  It is a restraint exercised over one’s behavior.

"Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control." - Prov. 25:28
“Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper that one who takes a city.”Prov. 16:32.

The world today is very self-centered and materialistic and many people have very poor impulse control.  They see something they want and will do anything to get it.  These people are very weak in self-control.  We humans are weak due to our fallen sinful natures.  This is why God gave us these 9 attributes of His Holy Spirit.  We need God’s self-control operating in our lives.
If you don’t have God’s self-control operating in you, you will never have victory over a bad temper, an unforgiving spirit, being judgmental, and lusts of the flesh.  If you are willing to yield to Him and allow Him to work in these attributes of the  Fruit of the Spirit, you will grow in many areas of your life you never thought possible.

Some examples of the lack of self-control in the Bible:
Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit - disobeyed God.
Cain killed Able – did not control his envy and jealousy.
Esau traded birthright for food – did not control his hunger.
Lot’s wife turned to salt – did not control longings.
David’s adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband – did not control sexual appetites.
Peter’s impulsive blow to soldier’s ear in Gethsemane – did not control his anger.

Some examples of self-control in the Bible:
Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife and did not give into sexual temptation.
Jesus resisted Satan’s temptation in the wilderness.
Jesus’ sinlessness.

This specific quality of self-control is one of the major keys in being able to have victory over lusts and desires of our flesh.

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” - 1 Peter 1:13.

“So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.”1 Thess. 5:6.

Satan is the ruler of the earth and he wants us to fail.  He has designed ways of life that are fast-paced.  He makes many things appealing to us like entertainment, fashions, movies, computers, and gadgets of all kinds.  Our lifestyles are constantly busy.  We live on the edge most of the time.  We never seem to have control of our lives or our self-control.  

When possible, avoid temptation and you won’t have the pressure to sin and turn away from God.  Run from temptation.  Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife when she tempted him.  Don’t keep bad company.  We greatly decrease temptation by not associating with evil people.  It is impossible to avoid exposure to everything that is sinful.  So we must be strong enough to control our thoughts and actions and not give into temptations.

Where in your life do you need self-control?
Do you ask God to help you when you are tempted?

Someone who has learned the meaning of self-control and practices it is someone who is taking steps to be like Jesus.  Self-control in a Christian means instead of having our own way, we choose God’s way.  We look to Him and obey His commands.  We let the Holy Spirit live and work God’s will through us.  This brings us closer to God.

Have you learned self-control?
Do you choose your way or God’s way?

This last fruit of the Spirit is the most important of them all.  It is hard in this day and age to be a Christian of self-control.  It is hard to deny self and be self-sacrificing.  Being a true Christian is difficult, but can be done by trusting Christ.  We won’t be perfect, but Jesus makes it clear in Rev. 2 and 3 that overcomers (those who are steadfast and victorious over sin) will go into the Kingdom of God.  God gives us His Spirit to help us achieve the fruit of the Spirit.  His love will give us courage, strength, love and self-control.

What great lessons we have learned by studying the Fruit of the Spirit.  I hope you will put these into practice.  Next time I will be posting an overview of the book of Revelation.  You don’t want to miss it!  Hope to see you here.

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