Friday, September 5, 2014

Self-Control, a Fruit of the Spirit


Self-Control, a Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-25
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patient), gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

These are nine wonderful characteristics that can be examined in the light of God’s Word. The “fruit” of the Spirit is a blended description of all the Christian character traits we are to demonstrate in our lives. They are to be complete; nine portraits of the riches of a Christ-centered life. 

Self-Control

Though self-control is last on the list of fruit, it is certainly not the least of them mentioned. Temperance, self-control is the ability to live with restraints. The world today tells us to: let it all hang out, do your own thing, be free of all control. But, we are instructed to manifest self-control that we may be Christ-like. Self-control is a form of worship and plays a major role in the maturing of a believer. Self-control involves the proper use of freedoms for which the Apostle Paul gives a Scriptural foundation; “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (I Corinthians 9:19,22b). Paul became all things to all men for the gospel’s sake, that he may share with them Christ’s eternal blessings. It is possible for the old nature to counterfeit some of the fruit of the Spirit, but the flesh, the old nature, can never produce the fruit of the Spirit. When the Spirit produces fruit, God gets the glory, but when the flesh is at work, we are inwardly proud and pleased with ourselves when others give us a compliment. 

Self-Control ––– Controlling Our Passions

Paraphrasing James 4:1-10–––“Where do the conflicts and the quarrels among you come from? Are they from the passions that battle inside you? You desire and have not; so you murder. You envy and cannot obtain, so you keep fighting and quarreling. You don’t have because you don’t ask; then you ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives–––so that you may waste it on your pleasures.” What is the biblical solution to wrong passions? “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (Read I Timothy 6:6-10).  

Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary –– CONTENTMENT, n. l.  Content; a resting or satisfaction of mind without disquiet; acquiescence. Contentment, without external honor, is humility. Godliness.

Self-control is taking action against being friends with the world. James calls this passion, “enmity with God” or “an enemy of God.” Friendship with the world is considered a form of spiritual adultery. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). The is a metaphorical description of spiritual unfaithfulness; to which the Jews especially understood. The Old Testament describes unfaithful Israel as a spiritual harlot in Hosea 1:2; 4:15; 9:1. Friends of the world are those with a deep and intimate longing for the things of the world; giving evidence that they are not Christians. Throughout Scripture, the Lord teaches us that the enemies of God are unbelievers. Be careful making the world your friend. 

Self-Control –– Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit 

Cultivating fruit to be eaten must be grown in a climate where it can blossom and mature. The fruit of the Spirit must be cultivated in a climate where one may “walk in the Spirit” in self-control, and in all the other characteristics of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is for the benefit and well-being of others that they might be helped, and Christ may be glorified. The flesh can produce a form of fruit that brings praise to us, but the flesh cannot bear fruit that beings glory to God. The cultivating of the fruit of the Spirit of God takes patience, and being willing to walk in the light of God’s Word with a sincere desire to honor Christ.

Thought: We must remember that fruit is produced so it can be shared, not admired, or put on a shelf as a display. People all around us are starving for love, and are hungry for all the other wonderful characteristics of the Spirit that we can share with them. They know we have something they lack, therefore, we do not bear fruit for our own pleasure, but for the benefit of others, a labor of love, that Christ may be praised and glorified.

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit working in the life of a believer. Scripture tells us to examine ourselves, whether we be in the faith.  1 Corinthians 13:5 ~ “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” Put yourself to the test to see if you are in the faith! Do you recognize that Jesus Christ is in you? If the Spirit of God does not have residence in your life, there is no fruit of self-control or any other godly characteristic, and indeed, you have failed the test! Trust Christ today, believe that Christ did for you what you could never do for yourself.




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