“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
Self -control as a fruit of the Spirit is a word we are all very familiar with but it is one thing to know and another to practise.
Just before we delve in further, let’s refresh;
What is self- control?
It is the propensity to rein in our emotions and desires in the face of temptation and wild impulses. It is a necessary cognitive function we use to train our minds. Simply put, controlling our actions, setting boundaries.
Self-control to a Christian is not about exercising our will power till we get burned out and give in but to subject ourselves to be led by Christ. To live a Spirit-controlled life.
Self-control is not binging on pizza though I feel like it or drinking till you are drunk knowing your liver will suffer.
Self control is not reacting before thinking. Counting consequences before reaction.
Self control is having an exercise plan and sticking to it.
It means resisting the temptation to over-indulge in food.
It prevents you from going on a spending spree and ultimately have to pay through your teeth to offset the debts while you sunk in financial ruin.
It means committing yourself to serve in your local assembly regardless of any flimsy excuse.
It means not sitting at every table of idle chatter you have been invited to.
It means refusing to show your martial arts skills when provoked or lashing out at every single word of offence.
Christians are admonished to come out from the world and be ambassadors and the only way others can know where you stand is by the values your attitude showcase. The mere fact we do not let the winds of passion or desire steer us.
The emphasis on the exercise of self restrain means we are constantly at war with our flesh-controlled desires, so it is essential we fiercely protect our spirit.
“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.”
James 1:14 NLT
“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”1 Corinthians 9:27 NLT
We become more productive in the kingdom of God when we refuse to be led by our impulses.
and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.”
2 Peter 1:6, 8-9 NLT
What happens when we lack self control?
“A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.”
Proverbs 25:28 NLT
A city with broken walls is vulnerable to attack of any kind.
In the same vein, a Christian who has not mastered self control is susceptible to attack’s from the enemy the devil.
The enemy comes in areas you are weakest in. He will bring temptations (impatience, anger, gluttony etc) your way knowing you don’t have the discipline to resist it and each time we yield, the devil wins.
I understand sometimes we just have to let it out. They must know how you feel. You must do what you want but holdup!
Is it in line with God’s word?
We don’t react because our body itches us to or it makes us feel temporarily good. No! Self-control is not purposed to get you comfortable but shift you to a higher level of Spirit-control. We are to Subject every thought and desire to the word of God.
It is a snare to act on our desires and impulses as the flesh may mislead us. This is why we have been admonished to die to self daily. Obviously not a one time thing but a trait we have to enforce anytime we are faced with decisions to make.
“You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.”
1 Corinthians 6:12 NLT
Where are the areas in our lives we struggle?
a. Our thoughts
b. Our words
c. Our Actions
How can we develop self control?
1. Catch your thoughts
The journey starts by regulating our thoughts. Once our thoughts are fixed , every other thing will fall in place. This is why the scripture encourages us to renew our mind daily by study and meditation of the word of God.
It reforms our thought process and instils in us the discipline of Christ. The truth is, when we change our perspective about something, it influences our feelings and consequently actions towards it whether good or bad.
2. Rely on the HolySpirit at all times.
As followers of Christ, we are upheld to a higher standard than the rest of the world therefore, it will be impossible to rely merely on our mental and physical strength to navigate bumps of temptations.
Truth be told, some situations push us beyond our will power and string us till the last straw of our patience is broken , Ultimately, the only way we can overcome is by drawing from a strength bigger than us. The strength which comes from the Almighty. Self control is an active gift of the HolySpirit and we need to intentionally exercise it . The more we use it, the stronger it gets.
3. Avoid triggers
There are situations that may cause us to stumble, avoid them.
If impossible to avoid, look away mentally.
Try to walk away from unnecessary arguments or exchange of words. The world will not end if you do.
Do good always. You don’t have to feel like it.
Living in obedience to Christ means successful subjecting yourself totally to Him and His words. The word of God is a seed in us that bears the fruit of self-control. Studying and meditation will do you a lot of good.
We do not live for ourselves only but to make God known in us and to all. It is about intentionally choosing a path of righteousness which may not be easy always to walk through but will certainly glorify the name of God.
Now is the time dear friends to pick up yourself and work like a truly disciplined soldier of Christ. It will save you lots of future regrets and awkward positions ( Imagine when you have to apologise for running your mouth 5seconds ago. Not fun)
Remember the absence of self- restraint is a Godless life overload.
Repair your walls and protect your city.
I pray God- the enabler of men strengthens us to rise above our weaknesses and glory in His power. Amen!
You are loved💙💜💚