Yesterday I was listening to a sermon on fruits of the spirit. I have read this list in Galatians many times, but other than being a checklist, I haven’t really given them much thought. As with any checklist, there are things that I can put a checkmark beside, and then there are other things that give me a hard time. I have not mastered any of the fruits, but the two that really give me the hardest time is patience and self-control.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
I linked to the New Living Translation since it is easier for me to understand. I wasn’t sure what forbearance or longsuffering meant, but this list I can understand.
Even though patience is not a strong suit of mine, I can usually keep it in check. Yes, I want things done right now, and I hate waiting. But, I can remind myself that it is HIS timing, not mine, and be able to acquire a sense of peace while I wait.
However, self-control is not as easy. I might be able to keep a check on some areas of my life, but there are always other areas that seem to go unchecked. When you think about it, there are so many things to struggle with, how can we possibly be able to control everything? The food we put in our mouth, the words that we speak, the thoughts that we have, what we choose to watch, what we choose to listen to, our spending habits, what we read, or who we choose to associate with are all things that I am sure most of us can identify with.
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
If you have no self-control, then, like a city without its walls for protection, you are vulnerable and open for attacks. The devil loves it when we lack self-control because we leave ourselves open to his attacks.
I think the problem is the word, “I.” Because “self” control is what the fruit is called, I assumed that “I” was the one who was supposed to be able to overcome any areas that were lacking in my life. But, we really need to be calling on the Lord and the Holy Spirit to be directing us instead. I looked up the definition of control.
CONTROL: the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.
Nobody likes the idea of being controlled, even if it is by ourselves. In reality, we are “controlled” by a lot of things, we just don’t think of it in that way. Some of us might be controlled by food, by alcohol, by comparison, by money, by the past, by our fears, or by other people’s opinions. Most of us have at least two areas that we struggle with on a daily basis.
It all boils down to two choices when you think about it. It is the choice between our flesh/sinful nature or the choice of a spiritual/Godly nature.
17 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 you are not to do whatever you want.
The two sides at war remind me of the picture of seeing a devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other. Which one wins? Have you heard the tale of two wolves?
“A Cherokee elder was teaching his young grandson about life.
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil- he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt and ego.
The other is good- he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.
This same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too.”
The boy thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf will win?”
The elder simply replied,
“The one you feed.”
You have a choice to make from the minute you wake up in the morning until you fall asleep at night. We will be faced with temptations daily and we have to decide which wolf we are going to feed; the sinful/flesh wolf or the spiritual/Godly wolf.
1 Corinthians 10:13
13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Thankfully, we have THE champion in our corner who will fight for us. Now, go feed that good wolf!
Have A Blessed Day!