Super Self-Control

“… hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled.” Titus 1:8

One of the fruits of the spirit Paul lists in Galatians 5 is self-control, a characteristic that is possible because of the help we receive when we are yielded to the Holy Spirit. Self-control describes the character and behavior of someone who is able to control his or her sensual desires. The sensual desires come from the soul and the body of a person, those parts that were not made new at our conversion to Christ. Not all sensual desires are wrong when they are tempered and kept in moderation. For example, an appetite to eat is not evil, but an appetite that is allowed to become overindulgent is unhealthy and abusive to the body. In addition, an appetite that is controlled with too much restriction can be harmful. For example, keeping the body from proper nutrition can result in unhealthy behavior, such an anorexia or bulimia. Another example is moderating our desire to rest. If you do not rest, your body and soul will suffer. On the other hand, some people become lazy and unproductive, which is also destructive. We also know that sexual desire is to be controlled. Sexual desire was meant to be satisfied within the marriage covenant and with the consent of your spouse. Not only is the act of intimacy to be controlled; but we also are to control our eyes, our minds, and our emotions from improper and sexual temptation.

The fruit of the spirit relies upon help from the Holy Spirit. The opposite of the fruit of the spirit is when people attempt to rely on themselves. When we refer to self-control as a fruit of the spirit, we are describing a humble person who leans on the Lord for help to moderate their behavior. The credit for a healthy life is given to God for the sufficiency He provides. A self-sufficient person describes a man or woman who leans on self, taking the credit for what they can accomplish apart from God. Some people pride themselves in self-discipline. They see themselves as able to control their behavior on their own. Control is more of an issue than what it appears to be. When we come to God, God requires that we let go of our self-reliance and to put our lives in His hands. This is faith, and only faith will please God. Only faith will receive salvation and eternal life. Only faith will experience a relationship with God and experience the power of the Holy Spirit. Self-sufficient people that attempt to know God become religious rule keepers, taking pride in their ability to control their life, sometimes attempting to control or moderate someone else’s behavior. The only way to know God and experience a relationship with Him is through a surrendered relationship and receiving His grace.

Application: Are you attempting to control a sin or an indulgence in your life? Let go of your tight grip and turn it over to the power of the Spirit!

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