Oh Geesh we are going here aren’t we? This one is huge, and I do mean huge! I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this Fruit. If you say you don’t then you are lying to yourself! We ALL need more self-control in our daily lives!
The definition of self-control is restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.
Self-control comes from disciplining ourselves. Our desires are continually at odds with God. Our desires want instant gratification. Our desires want us to be in charge. Self-control is reeling in those desires, teaching ourselves to be the kind of people who walk with God. Self-control is releasing our tight grip on our desires, choosing instead to allow the Holy Spirit to control us, as His power is focused in the right place. Self-control is the ability to crucify the flesh and walk in the Spirit. Even though God is working in us, the work requires us to put in effort and thought, especially this fruit. Self-control is a vital part of our walk with God.
I battle with self-control daily. Making time to open my heart to read His Word. Keeping His Word in my heart and mind. Taking care of His temple. Watching my thoughts and words. Staying away from things not of Him. The list is endless. There are days I feel like an utter failure and wonder “What does God see in me when I continually fail Him?” Yet, each moment is a new choice, a choice to follow Him and start again. Jesus mastered self-control, the only one ever to do so. So how did He do it?
He followed all God’s Laws for living.
Jesus suffered for our sins; suffering excruciating pain for our sins, yet He had no sin.
Peter says in 1 Peter 2:23 ESV “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”
Jesus knew that God’s Word were righteous.
“My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right.” (Psalms 119:172 ESV).
Self-control means you must first know God’s Word for right living, His blueprint for our lives. You must know what you need to control before you can control it. Reading God’s Word keeps His guidelines clearly before us.
Jesus kept God’s Word and did not sin even though He too was tempted by desires.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 ESV
Jesus humbled Himself, even to the point of death.
“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8 ESV
So how do we apply this Fruit of the Spirit in our lives as Jesus did?
We should ask ourselves is “What would Jesus do?” i know it’s cliché but it’s the truth. We can find our what Jesus would do if we study God’s Word on a regular basis. Especially, by reading the Four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we can see what Jesus did, what He said. We need to walk in His footsteps, we need to master ourselves, “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” 1 John 2:6 ESV. As we walk the way that Jesus walked we come to have a mind like His, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 2:5 ESV.
We should ask ourselves, “How can I apply God’s Word in this situation?” We know that God’s law is just and good, “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” Romans 7:12 ESV. So we should learn what God’s Word says, learn, apply it and live it.
By keeping God’s Word in our hearts and minds we will be blessed and not be reaping the results of sin, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10;10 ESV.
Did you realize the lack of self-control can be associated with breaking of the Tenth Commandment? “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20:17 ESV. Covet means to desire or crave something. When we sin this first Commandment we break. I never really thought about it that way but when we desire, lust or crave something ~ it’s wrong plain and simple. It’s all about wanting. Our human side wants everything….and we want it now. We need to understand the only thing we should desire or crave is to glorify our Father through our thoughts, our words and our actions.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, If we can bring our sinful thoughts under control then we can overcome sin.” Paul makes it sound so easy, doesn’t he? How can we do this? We can replace a bad thought with a good one. Every sin begins with a thought. That makes it very important on what we allow into our thoughts, what we allow our minds to dwell on. “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV. Every time a sinful thought comes, we must replace it with “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 ESV.
Romans 8:5-6 ESV says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Self-control is the virtue of controlling our mind, desires, passions, emotions and sensual appetites to the glory of God.
Are your fleshly desires controlling your life, or are you allowing the Spirit to direct me to the things that please God and serve others?
P.S… I’m very sure there will be more on this Fruit….to come….