This Sunday we come to the ninth fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:23, translated SELF-CONTROL (or TEMPERANCE in the King James). The Greek word egkrateia is composed of en = in and kratos=strength, so means “inner strength.” We all like to believe we are in control of our lives, and for the most part we are. But if we are honest, we will admit that there are areas where we struggle or lack self-control; it may be with eating, drinking, exercising, sleeping, or how we spend our time or money. Controlling what comes out of our mouths is often a problem too.
When we struggle with self-control we often resolve to just try harder. But from a faith perspective, self-control is in the end a grace or gift of the Spirit’s work in our lives. Jesus invites us to lay down our lonely struggle for control of ourselves and to allow him to lead us into God’s life-giving way.
From one perspective the dog in the picture above has developed the self-control not to immediately gobble down the treat resting on his nose, but in the bigger picture we know that the control is from following his Master’s command. As we yield our lives to the will of God in trust, we will experience all the fruits of God’s Spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and yes, self-control.
To listen to my message, click on “Self-Control or God-Control?”