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Self-Control

The last
named fruit of the spirit is Self-Control. What does this mean? Is
it will power, exerting one’s own power over our lives Is it an
armor of determining our protection in the moment? Is it a way of
smoothing over our lives with armor of protection with pride and
lies?
Long ago
when I was 7 years old, I wanted to go visit my girl friend, Betty
Creech, after school. Gaining permission meant promising to be home
by 5 pm to set the table, and I would have to practice piano later in
the evening. I promised to do those things, and skipped off (I could
skip then) to my visit with Betty. We laughed and played and enjoyed
our time together. Suddenly we both looked at the clock. It glared
at me, 5:10 pm. “Oh, no, I didn’t keep my promise, and now I will
get a spanking.” Betty comforted me, “Tell your Dad that you had
so much fun that when you looked at the clock, and saw it was after 5
pm and you are sorry.” I rehearsed Betty’s words as I walked home.
As soon as I got in the door, Dad stood there waiting. I gave my
rehearsed speech. He relented with, “Just don’t let it happen
again.” I asked Dad if he knew Betty Creech’s phone number, he knew
everything. He asked why, and I replied, “I want to tell Betty
that her story worked and I didn’t get a spanking….” I didn’t
call Betty Creech, but I did get the punishment.
Self-Control?
What is the lesson? Create a better story? Don’t listen to
well-meaning friends who counter your Father’s truth. Your sins will
find you out? Obedience is better than punishment? Manipulation with
a lie – makes a mockery of truth? After 76 years I continue to
ponder that moment in time and listening to the advice that put
enmity between my Father and me. I put someone else’s ‘right’ above
my Father’s right. Therefore, I disobeyed and betrayed my Father.
Galatians
5:19-26 – The
acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and
debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits
of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy;
drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before,
that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 
gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no
law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the
flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the
Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not
become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Control
yourself!” Have you ever heard that admonition? I have been on
many diets, and each one ended in a ‘yo-yo’ experience. I did each
one for me, for my self-image. I tried to complete the diet for what
others would think of me. In doing so, each diet failed. I would be
good one day and bad the next. And when I was good, I was good for
‘nothing’. I neglected to understand that I can do nothing without
God. When I put my trust in God and let Him lead, then I will have
learn self control. Rather, I put him in my God-box so I could take
Him out when it seemed convenient.
Self-Control
doesn’t happen to be something I can have or do on its own. It is a
facet, a part of one of the fruit of the spirit and a part of the
being of God. it can only be ours through the acceptance of Jesus
Christ in every part of our lives. The fruit of the spirit happens
as a process as we follow in the footsteps, moment by moment, in
Jesus Christ.
Self-Control
happens when we give our control to God, when we know the Word of
God, and we allow a Christian to help us be accountable. (Tim Keller
– Self-Control Sermon) Self-Control is when we bypass the urgent
thing and hold to the important thing.
Tim
Keller (redeemer.com) uses the analogy of a creating a vivid video of
the will of God by knowing His Word. Our purpose in life is
intentional and focused on God. When this video can be called into
our minds and hearts when the flesh whispers audios of temptation,
then we will be single-minded about who our Lord is. Paul wrote in
Romans 7:21-25 – So I find this law at work: Although I want to do
good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight
in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war
against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin
at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from
this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers
me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Some
want to clean up their lives to look good, the white-washed tombs,
and that is to say they can be good on their own. They avoid Jesus
by avoiding the wrong thing. Matthew 23:27 – “Woe to you, teachers
of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed
tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full
of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.
Whatever
controls us is our lord. The person who seeks power is controlled by
power. The person who seeks acceptance is controlled by acceptance.
We do not control ourselves. We are controlled by the lord of our
lives.”
― Rebecca Manley Pippert, Out of the Saltshaker
and Into the World
‘This
is our righteousness’. The first temptation was in the Garden of
Eden when the serpent tempts Eve with the promise of replacing God as
her righteousness, her own choices would then be wrong or right.
Genesis 3:4 – “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said
to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes
will be opened, and
you will be like God, knowing
good and evil.”
One
of the sins mentioned at the beginning verses of Galatians is anger.
There are 268 references in the NIV to God’s Anger and man’s anger,
including, “Be angry and sin not!” When
I read about red hot anger, I couldn’t imagine such an intense anger.
One day at work, something was said that angered me. Oh, how I felt
the heat of that anger go from my head to my feet. My heart pounded
against my ribs. I was so angered that I could not think, I was
undone. I didn’t know I was capable of such fierce anger. It
frightened me. I had lost Self-Control. I then understood the
references in the Bible that speak of burning anger. Numbers 14:18 –
The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving
sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he
punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and
fourth generation.’
Self-Control
comes when we give God control of our lives, know the Word of God,
and allow a fellow Christ Follower to help us be accountable.
Surrender to God and Humility erases pride and arrogance and we know
love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness and
gentleness.
Graphic
from https://www.facebook.com/piktureplanet

Comments? eacombs@att.net

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