Is Your Self-Control Out of Control?But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Forbearance, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. Galatians 5:22-23
Although all of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned above are important, I sometimes wonder if the last one mentioned is the one that many have "settled for less" in pursuing. Interestingly, it is very difficult 2 cultivate any of the other fruits of the Spirit in our lives without self-control. Can I love well if my temper is out of control? Can I have true joy if I allow my flesh to be out of control? I surely can't have peace if I have no self-control, let alone forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness. All must be cultivated in the "soil" of a self-controlled life.
The Value of Self-ControlSo I say, walk by the Spirit, and u will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that u are not to do whatever u want. But if u are led by the Spirit, u are not under the law. Galatians 5:16-18
Our flesh is deceptive, and its desires cause the people of God numerous temptations. It is so easy to give into temporary satisfaction without considering the long term cost these temporary gratifications demand. There is an ongoing battle that all men and women face each and every day between the flesh and the Spirit. The good news is that even though the flesh demands our "work" to control it, the Spirit – when we allow ourselves to be led and dependent upon Him – gives us all that we need to resist temptation and to submit to what is true and what is good for our lives. Self-control comes only through dependency upon the Spirit.
The flesh is restless. It wants control of our lives. There is restlessness in the lives of so many individuals – not only within those who do not know the Lord, but also within the Body of Christ. We all desire comfort, satisfaction and nurturing. God put that need within us and He is happy to satisfy those longings with His Spirit; but it does not happen outside of intimate relationship with Him. We must let the Holy Spirit lead us and comfort us.
Getting Honest and PersonalI never feel it is honest to write these kinds of articles without including my personal journey, since more often than not my writings come from something the Lord is trying to teach me first. My personal struggle with self-control (or the lack of it) has been in the area of taking care of my body. I tend to be the type of person who takes care of everyone but me. And, though that is true, it may also be an excuse to not have to deal with an area where I've allowed my flesh to rule. The price I am paying for this negligence is beginning to affect my daily life. I, too, desperately need to let the Spirit comfort me and nurture me so that I am not "self comforting" by escaping into the pleasure of something good to eat.
No matter what our struggle, any activity we use to comfort ourselves can become an area that the flesh is declaring victory over the Spirit in our lives. It is time for your spirit and my spirit to arise and declare victory over the works of the flesh and the demands that it puts upon us. Its relentless demand and deception is the greatest cause of the restlessness that so many deal with.
I remember hearing a minister's testimony of declaring victory over her addiction to smoking cigarettes even as she lit one up. Day after day she smoked, but as she did she would thank God that she was delivered from her addiction. Gradually she stopped smoking and saw the victory that she saw in the Spirit manifest in her life. She refused to let her flesh dictate what the Spirit was telling her she had victory over. I think that many of us need to do the same thing with our struggles. He is the giver of self-control. Maybe self-control partly looks like agreeing with Him regarding what He says He is delivering us from. I will exercise self-control by not agreeing with the declaration of my flesh as it has shouted claims of victory. And as much as possible, it is important to invite others into your journey to stand with u as u contend for victory.
I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Arise With HopeIf I had one wish for Christmas day, it would be that the children of God would let the Spirit lead them so that they can have the gift of self-control. Fortunately, I not only can wish this but I can pray and declare this. It can start with me and u! This Christmas we can give Jesus a gift of dependency and declarations of His Word. He longs to see us free. Just as a parent wants to see their child free from all hindrances that bring pain into their lives, so does our Heavenly Father. He is happy to share this gift with us because it is a joint effort of our submission and His strength.
Arise with hope in your heart and begin to declare the victory of your deliverance over every area where your flesh has led u to believe u are defeated. Neither the devil nor our flesh will be able to prosper in a heart that seeks and longs for the fruit of the Spirit. Declare even now over your life the words from Isaiah 54:
"...no weapon forged against u will prevail, and u will refute every tongue that accuses u. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me." Isaiah 54:17
Rather than another "New Year's" resolution, how about entering into a Holy Spirit agreement and declaration that we have obtained freedom? Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!
Blessings upon u and your family this Christmas, and I pray that 2012 will begin with testimonies of "songs of deliverances" coming from God's people.
Happy Holidays from our home to yours,
Kathi Pelton has a passion to encourage, uplift and serve. As well as being a published writer she has traveled extensively with Watchmen for the Nations, spoken at conferences, been a member of a national prophetic round-table and co-directed a house of prayer. Her favorite pastime is to spend time with her husband and children.