Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control

The Spirit which God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against these things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

As we practice the fruit of the Spirit, we have a choice. We can either attempt to produce this fruit on our own or depend on God to help water and harvest these seeds in us as a natural outcome of abiding in Him and surrendering to the prompting of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

© Susan Irene Fox

© Susan Irene Fox

If you have ever attempted to acquire a new skill – play a sport or learn a musical instrument; study a book of the Bible or grasp a new language or subject; train in a new profession or specialize in a new technique – you had to rely on lots of practice, and a coach, a book or manual, illustrations, study notes, diagrams, a mentor, or just a darn good teacher to help you along the way.

~~~

SELF CONTROL

by Mike Bullock

I’m shaking at the prospect

Of trying to deny

My need of certain gimmicks

To make my time pass by

I gaze at sites like E-Bay

Perusing all they’ve got

if I had my fleshly way

I’d go and buy the lot.

 

Self control is difficult

It’s something I should learn

Just to live within my means

My money not to burn

Store your treasure up above

A cheerful giver be

Peace will reign inside your heart

Just you wait and see.

~~~

Self-control is unattainable on our own. We must rely on God to sustain it. It is impossible to exhaust God’s self-control. It will be much more difficult to drain your self-control if the source of it is the living water of the Holy Spirit within you.

Self-control is not an act of will; it’s a state of being.  It’s the sum total of all the seeds of the fruit once they have reached their full bloom. It is the completed, fragrant bouquet.

If I am feeling a lack of self-control, I need to look at the core of the fruit of the Spirit to determine where I need more practice. Do I need to ask God for more patience? For a more generous spirit? For more faith in Him? For ways to find joy in my current circumstances? Sometimes I feel so inept, like I should already have mastered this skill. Then I remember the apostle Peter and know I am in great company because I, too, am a disciple.

Peter, the lead apostle, at the beginning of his discipleship with Jesus, rarely used self-control. Peter was bold, but often used his boldness in foolish, unthinking or violent ways. He rebuked Jesus (Matthew 16:22), and when he saw Jesus walk on water couldn’t wait to try it himself (Matthew 14:28). He cut off the ear of a servant (John 18:10), bragged about his loyalty (Matthew 26:33), then turned around and denied knowing Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75).

Yet once the Holy Spirit came upon him, he learned the “great love, grace and mercy” we have been given, and how that leads to freedom if we use it with our hearts surrendered and open to the direction of the Holy Spirit. Peter began to use his boldness in more reflective ways. He courageously preached the gospel. He refrained from violence. He was no less passionate, but his passion was blended with the humility of truly knowing the love of Christ and having the inexhaustible self-control of God’s indwelling Spirit.

He had learned the hard lessons, and in his letters was passing along his experience and wisdom to other believers. He wanted us to know the inexplicable “inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,” the treasure that awaits us at the end of this journey, the blessed gift that we have received through our faith in the amazing grace of Christ Jesus.

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” 1 Peter 1:5-7

I am still learning from Peter, and from Paul, and of course from Jesus. It’s a lifelong journey, one He will not finish in me until I meet my Lord face to face – and perhaps not even then. All I can say is that with His help, I practice self-control. And I pray that, with His strength and wisdom, I embody and produce this fruit. Why? Because at the end of the day, I don’t want people to look at me and see me or my struggles. I want them to look at me and see Jesus.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6-7)

Self Control copyright 2014 Mike Bullock

Mike is a humble Christian who writes Christian poetry, “which I share on several websites and forums for other followers of Jesus. May you be blessed by what you read and thank you for visiting.  God Bless, Mike.” You can find Mike’s poetry blog, Versical Rhymes at http://ploosh61.wordpress.com/

This post can also be seen at Mind’s Seat, www.marmarthunder.wordpress.com

16 comments

  1. Dave Burns · ·

    Just wanted to let you know that my first book THE MOVEMENT: A CHILDREN’S STORY FOR GROWN-UPS is free Thursday-Saturday on Kindle. It’s an allegorical story, depicting humanity’s struggle to become reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Thought you might want to take a look at it : )
    http://www.amazon.com/author/daveburns
    http://www.uncarvedbooks.com
    Thank you for all you do, and may God continue to bless your ministry!
    Dave

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    1. Thank you, Dave. And thank you for being so generous with your reblogs. Meant to thank you before and got lost in my emails. I’ll get over to Kindle to check it out. Bless you as well. ❤

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      1. Dave Burns · ·

        Thank you as well, Susan. I hope it is a blessing to you. He has risen!

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      2. Amen, Dave! And Happy Resurrection Day to you and your family.

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  2. Self-control is indeed a journey. I like Paul who put it perfectly when he said I don’t know why in the heck I do the things I do…I know they are wrong and I turn around and do them anyway! Keeping my eyes on God is about all I can do…Peace and Blessings

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    1. lol! Joylynn, it’s all any of us can do! Blessings back to you! 🙂

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  3. This is a beautiful reminder to trust in the Lord….that all things occur in the perfect time and way…therefore it should be easy for us to practice self control! I am a student of many things and I agree wholeheartedly that we must practice…and with the source of the Holy Spirit within us may we ever be grateful! Thank you for this beautiful writing. 🙂

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    1. Yes, Lorrie, it SHOULD be easy…however, we still must remember that we can’t do it alone. We often try with independent will power and our own self-sufficiency, then beat ourselves up when we fail. We are so acculturated to independence that even though we may espouse a higher power, our walk betrays our own reliance on ourselves. Opening our hands and letting go is so-o-o-o difficult, but in order to receive His gifts, that’s what we are called to do. Thank you for your insightful comment.

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      1. Reinforcement for all who read this. Thank you, you always have very important lessons in your words. Happy Easter weekend…Blessitude 🙂

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  4. I love this! It was like going to church for me this morning.

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    1. Aw, your words went deep into my heart today. Thank you so much. May your day be blessed with His warmth and wisdom as mine was while writing this. ❤

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  5. Your humble pointing to the Spirit captures just what we all need to hear: self-control is really self surrender to Spirit control. Trying harder just doesn’t cut it – it has to come from Him. I have found fasting to be a parallel discipline, weakening myself so that I may experience His strength all the more.

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    1. Fasting, praying and meditation are spiritual disciplines that will assuredly help us move toward God. It is in the emptying of ourselves that we allow God to fill us up. Thank you for your comment, Tiffany.

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      1. I wrote a bit on fasting recently. There is so much more that could be said, though!

        http://messytheology.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/hungry-but-satisfied/

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      2. Hungry but satisfied – that really says it all, doesn’t it? Thank you for the link and the read.

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  6. Dave Burns · ·

    Reblogged this on Uncarvedbooks.

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