"For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age." Titus 2:11-12
We admire athletes who stick to their physical regimens, students who graduate with high GPAs, and we may even give ourselves a mental pat on the back if we turn down a sweet snack while on a diet. Self-control is the last of the fruit of the Spirit listed in the letter to the Galatians. Self-control is a good thought, but putting it into action takes a lot of determination and work. Real and lasting self-control will take the power of the Spirit moving inside us.
When the Bible talks about self-control, it invites us to consider much deeper areas in our hearts and bodies than simply breaking the habit of hitting the snooze button too many times, or trying to work out more consistently. Truly, self-control the Lord asks of us is about saying no to the flesh, no to sinfulness, and yes to living godly lives set apart for Jesus.
"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Proverbs 18:21
Self-control means walking away from the political fight. Or pouring out the bottle. Or choosing Christian friends. Or waiting for a better mate. Or not getting in the last word. Or being quick to speak and slow to anger. Self-control means listening, living like Jesus, and setting aside our own selfish ways to let God get the glory. Self-control is less gossip and more forgiveness. Self-control is more love and less envy. Self-control is taking better care of our bodies and minds, and actually spending time with God every single day.
Self-control is a whole lot of sacrifice... all for our own good. Pamela Myers Palmer
Consider... what keeps you from living a life marked by self-control? What seems to get you off track or distract you from pursuing a good and righteous life? God instructs us to live the way of self-control because it will be for our good, for our family's good, and will allow us to make a lasting difference in the lives of those we encounter and minister to. Jesus showed incredible self-control when He was tempted (see Matthew 4), and we know that He will empower us to live just as self-controlled as He did when we pursue this fruit of the Spirit.
If you're ready to foster self-control, begin with prayer and repentance. Ask the Lord for His help each day, each moment, and each time you feel yourself struggling. Call upon the power of the Spirit for deliverance and breakthrough, and to be set free from strongholds so that you can live a life that is good and holy and pure. Read Scripture each day. Pray each morning. Carry a verse with you throughout each day for encouragement, strength and wisdom. Rely on God to help you practice self-control and develop this fruit of the Spirit.
Self-control may be hard, but the consequences of our sinful choices are devastating. Pamela Myers Palmer
I'll admit that self-control isn't always my strong point each day, but I can tell you first hand that Jesus will show up in your time of temptation. He will give you strength when you earnestly seek Him and desire the Spirit over the flesh. May you take the first steps to rid your home, your life, your mind, and your heart of what's controlling you, so that you may bear the fruit of self-control.
Let us pray
Lord, self-control is a beautiful way to live. Help us and empower us to overcome our fleshly desires and to instead, crave holy and righteous thoughts, words, actions, and lifestyles. Send us help, and show us the way to bear this fruit of the Spirit more and more. Let our lives be pleasing in your sight. We thank you for your strength and that truly, all things through Christ are possible. Amen.
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