Self-Control: Do You Have It? Part Three

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22

You can’t read the gospels without knowing Jesus lived with a spirit of joy and humor and warmth in whose presence other people genuinely enjoyed. Humor of the day, satire, and irony overflowed the cusp of the teaching of Jesus. His vision of God’s kingdom effervesces with joy. Spirit guided self-control enables the faithful to enjoy these attributes. Jesus wasn’t a kill-joy and neither are His teachings.

In His teaching there is enough wholesome fun to go around without stepping over the line into the border of impropriety. That is when joy goes out of the balloon of life. Only one personal attribute guards the border wall, and that is self-control. It is enabled when the Holy Spirit is allowed to pick its succulent fruit. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, an enabling grace who stands on guard in the life of the faithful.

Abuse of the good gifts that God provides leads to diminished self-control, but life in the Spirit frees the Christian to enjoy genuine joy, peace, contentment, and freedom.

We can overcome temptation if we avoid the road of compromise and choose the road of integrity. No one is perfect. We resolve to “try harder,” yet our self-effort always falls short.

How can self-control become our “new normal”? As we depend on God’s grace, we are enabled to live within the boundaries He has established, motivated not by rules, but by our love for Him.

Take this test of self-control, do you have it?

Can I be alone with an appealing member of the opposite sex and not want to be inordinately expressive sexually?
Can I control my indulgent inclinations?
Can I control my passion?
Can I control my strengths and my weaknesses? 
Can I control my propensity toward improper self-gratification?
Can I control my lethargy?
Can I control my appetite at a sumptuous meal?
Can I control my sweet tooth, my soft spot, and my big eyes?
Can I control the embellishment of my deeds?

Self-control can become your new normal regardless of your efforts to try harder have failed to exercise self-control.

Only by depending on God’s grace, we are enabled to live within the boundaries He has established. It is love for the Lord resulting in obedient dependence on Him that enables us to exercise self control, not by a bunch of does and don’ts. We are not motivated by rules, but by our love for our Ruler. It is divine inspiration that results in self-control, not our impulses, or instincts. These last two are often the battering ram to tear down our resistance leading to the loss of self-control.

Always pick the fruit of the Spirit and enjoy its companions: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness. After all, Jesus embodied  those traits and you can enjoy them.