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.
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.
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