My sense of right and wrong has been offended. I am grieving injustice. I am tempted, so my conscience is in conflict. My feelings have been seriously hurt and I don’t think I will ever forgive the wrong done to me. I am angry to find my world in chaos. There are so many individual responses to the circumstances in which we find ourselves, aren’t there? And for these our Mighty God has given to us the unique indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
The list of benefits we receive when we yield to His leading is long. We know He gives us love, joy and peace. We might even remember that He, the Holy Spirit seeks to make us kind, gentle and patient. Do we credit Him for the goodness with which we serve those in need, or do we claim some of that glory for ourselves? When we are faithful are we aware that it is conditioned by the power of God or conversely, the lack thereof? But how often does our list end there?
What exactly does the fruit of self-control look like? How many sermons have you heard on the topic of self-control? Is it difficult because we don’t understand it, or is it difficult because we don’t know how to glorify God for the fruit He is growing inside of us? Are we willing to ponder the “difficult”?
God’s Word is very realistic. We see the contrasts clearly, between good and evil. Humankind struggles with our capability for reason, and tries to justify the reactions that so often colour our world. What is our guide? In only a few generations, mankind had wandered far away from the path of fellowship with God; only Noah’s family remained true to their heavenly Father. Clearly there was no desire for self-control as folks gave in to every desire of the flesh and the devil, and we know what happened to them.
Today as we look around us things don’t seem much different. Every man is doing what is right in his own eyes – the very problem seen twice in the book of Judges where God records the reason for existing sin. “Israel had no king”. Because there was no accountability to God, “Everyone did as he saw fit” (Judges 17:6, 21:25). In order to control ourselves, we need to recognize the only One who can make us in His image, as “King”. Oh – physically we have been made in his image, having been given heart and mind and soul, but to control the self, we desperately need the love and the goodness of God poured into our lives day by day…to become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
It goes against the grain to recognize our need. Many today think we should be autonomous.
“Autonomous motivation is defined as engaging in a behavior because it is perceived to be consistent with
intrinsic goals or outcomes and emanates from the self.”(Google)
The only problem with this idea is that we do not emanate from ourselves – we are created beings, with accountability to our Creator. He is the One who created us for His purposes, with goals and outcomes planned for each individual. “I know the plans I have for you….plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Looking down through time God sees all that is glorious for His children throughout eternity, in that little word future. When most humans think of the future it is with the hope that when I grow up I will become….., or when I get married I will start a family, or when I retire I will be able to do so and so. God’s vision is limitless. Eternal!
Would you agree then that self-control is achieved by using the supernatural power given to us by God, through the Holy Spirit, who gives us insights into who we might become and the Divine wisdom and power to do so? Self-control gives us victory over those very things that would separate us eternally from our God, as well as victory over the flesh and the devil.
by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)