“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
Ah, last but certainly not least we have reached the last fruit in Galatians, self-control. Like patience, self-control is not a favorite of mine. Because self control can be tough sometimes, especially when I want to eat a cupcake, but need to go to gym instead. Saying “no” to self is not a very easy thing to do, saying “no” to others however I have no problem doing that. Anyone else? But self control is about us, not others. So today we are going to examine ourselves and hopefully learn a little something about saying developing and practicing self-control.
Moderation Is Key
Self-control is not merely saying “no” all the time, it is also about moderation. Whether it is food, internet, social media, etc. we could all use a little moderation in our life. The best way I have found to use moderation in my own life is to not necessarily just remove something, but rather replace it with a better choice. This works best when done gradually and not all at once. Diets have a tendency to fail when you cut out every enjoyable piece of food all at once. But gradually changing your eating habits would lead to greater results. The same goes with other things in our life that we could use less of. Self control must be practiced daily, and moderation is a great way to start. I am not talking about sin here, but rather bad habits. Moderation does not apply to sin, because no amount of sin is beneficial to your walk with Christ or living life to it’s fullest But if you have a bad habit you would like to kick then begin to gradually replace and remove it. Limit your time online, add healthy food to your diet, read a chapter in a book for every tv show you watch, just find a way to enjoy the things you like but in a healthy way. Too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing.
“Do you like honey?
Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!” Proverbs 25:16
Thoughts tend to be ignored because no one else knows what we are thinking. But God knows our thoughts and He tells us to take them captive, to tell ourselves what to think, and to filter our thoughts through the Word of God. This is very important because every action begins with a thought, good or bad. Thoughts decide just about everything for us, and if we having bad thoughts eventually we will have bad actions. It is inevitable. You have to be conscious of what you are thinking and ask yourself these questions: Is it good? Is it pure? Is it kind? It is productive? Does it contradict the Bible or God’s best for me? If the answer to any of those is “no”, you need to remove that thought and think on something that does meet those requirements. Do not let negative thoughts produce negative actions in your life. Only you can choose what you think and what you put in your mind, practicing self-control on our thoughts equals practicing self control on our actions as well. There is a quote I like, “We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.” Thoughts are so important, choose wisely friends.
“We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
Less of Me More of You
No one can help you more with self-control than God. The more of Him you put in, the less of you comes out. While we can do a lot to practice self-control, the best results come from just growing closer to God. Spending time with God, and continuously choosing Him first strengthens your relationship with Him. He gives us good desires, those produce good thoughts and those thoughts produce good actions. God is the root of all of the fruits of the Spirit, He is the foundation. I will continue to fail without God, I can use moderation, I am can try to think good thoughts and I can get advice from others, but without God this is pointless. I need Him, you need Him, everyone needs Him. This relationships develops from prayer, reading the Bible, loving and serving others. These things bring us closer to God and develop godly character in our lives. We can do so much more for His kingdom when we seek first the kingdom. The more like Him we are, the more others will want to be like Him too!
“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” John 3:30
“Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city. proverbs 16:32
Lots of Love,