Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Fruit of the Spirit -- Self Control

Chuckle: "If all the people who sleep in church were laid end to end -- they'd be more comfortable!"
Quote: “By constant self-discipline and self-control you can develop greatness of character.” --Grenville Kleiser

"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:16,22 NIV). "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" (I Peter 1:13 NIV).
Self-control is the last of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit presented by the apostle Paul in our Galatians passage. The central truth here is that to be self-controlled is to let self be Christ-controlled. If it were left up to me, I don't think I have sufficient will-power to control all my natural instincts and desires. I know I will never be Christ-like until I allow His Holy Spirit within me to take control of my life.
The secret to self-control is full surrender to God's will as revealed in Scripture. This view contrasts with that of the world, where every excess and indulgence is seen as a right and privilege. Anything that brings immediate gratification and fulfillment is viewed as permissible and desirable. Self-discipline is rejected. "If it feels good, do it!"
The Greek word Paul used for "self-control" can also be translated "temperance" (KJV). The term refers to mastery over one's passions and desires. Self-control means the responsible use of freedom in Christ. Christians are to discipline their desires and impulses according to Christlike standards and values. The Holy Spirit empowers God's people to exercise such self-control -- to resist immoral and unchristian thoughts and behaviors.
"Self-control is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands -- and then eat just one of the pieces." Speaking of eating a piece of chocolate, perhaps the area of our lives where many fail to exercise self-control is with food. I know; I know; I've done gone to meddling. . . .! But overeating is an epidemic in our society. The Bible speaks about the ills of gluttony and certainly teaches us to take care of our physical bodies. After all, "our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit."
As each of us considers this fruit of the Spirit, perhaps there are some lifestyle changes we need to make to improve our body's ability to function as it should for as long as possible -- for the glory of our Lord. Is your relationship with the Lord strong enough that you can resist the temptation to eat things you ought not to eat and get the exercise you need? Always remember, the Holy Spirit enables believers to exercise self-control and restraint in the face of powerful temptations.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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