What does having self-control mean to you? For me, when someone is showing self-control, they are in control of their emotions, usually calm, cool, and collected.
How do we get there? The answer is, as with any one of the fruits, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5: 25 We step carefully and intentionally.
As we grow in God, we can perfect these steps by keeping in step with how we control our lives and our emotions.
Acquiring good self-control is taming our emotions.
Yes, there are times that we all step out of “living by the Spirit” and react with our flesh, our earthly man. Maintaining good self-control is a strength that can even change an atmosphere.
Keeping a calm atmosphere in the midst of chaos comes with the art of responding and not reacting.
Learning self-control is part of making one’s calling and election sure. Peter says it this way: “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1: 5-8
Did you take note that everything mentioned in the above scripture builds upon the one before it? Not only that but we are also encouraged to “make every effort to add them to our faith.“
I love how Peter ties it all together in the last verse when he states that we are to possess these qualities in increasing measure so that we can be productive Christians in life. If we “possess” these qualities, we own them.
Folks, it’s time to grow up in the things of God. Let the Holy Spirit live through your life.
All of the fruits come from living a life by the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit lives inside of us; He is part of the Trinity of the Godhead.
We are born into a sinful nature, so the acts of the sinful nature are within us. But now, as Christ-followers, we belong to Christ. We have this promise that tells us that: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature.” Galatians 6: 24
When Jesus was crucified, not only were our sins nailed to the cross, but so was our sin nature.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2: 20
This Christian walk is Jesus living through us!
This is why we need the Holy Spirit to help us live as Jesus lived.
Keeping in step with the Spirit is obeying, yielding, and surrendering.
If we do that, we will live self-controlled lives.
“So, I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spriit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” Galatians 5: 16-17
A lot of the conflict that we feel within is a spiritual battle inside of us.
As we learn to yield to the Spirit of God, releasing the good fruit, that conflict dissipates, and peace enters.
The road has been paved for us to travel on. As we yield, merge, and align ourselves with the road God has called us to travel on, we will then merge and move forward to where He is taking us. That road ahead may look foggy and unclear, but remember: “Wherever He is taking us, we go not alone!”
Self-control is the last fruit of the Spirit, but let it be the first part of stepping out of us and stepping into Him. God gave us emotions that we all have, but it’s the Spirit’s job to help us control those emotions; just let Him do the driving of leading and guiding.
Isn’t God funny? He has such a sense of humor. Usually, driving is that one place, especially for men (sorry guys), that’s easy for us to practice how to release good self-control. Learning to yield to the Holy Spirit can help us to control all of that emotion that comes to the surface while we are behind the wheel.
Ladies, since I don’t want to single out the men, we are given a chance to exhibit good self-control every time we go into the grocery store and the checkout line is two miles long with the person in front of us having a full, overflowing cart. In contrast, we have a couple of items in our arms. That “hot breath” we release can be felt and heard by the one in front of us. It’s strong enough to straighten curls.
Putting all joking aside, as I close, I find it very interesting that the fruit of self-control is listed last. Why? The other eight fruits are all developed around self-control.
In fact, all of the fruits are wrapped around love and developed around self-control.
The very first fruit, Agape love, which is God’s never-ending, pure love, is what kick-starts the development of all of the fruits. “We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4: 19
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