I gave in. Friends were coming over for dinner, so I had the perfect excuse to make dessert. And not just any dessert – but one boasting three delectable kinds of chocolate. With my willpower on a swift decline, I included a sugary helping of dessert with both lunch and dinner. A little help from my family ensured that the Chocolate Explosion was polished off over the course of the weekend.
By Sunday evening, I had to admit I had overdone it. Not only did my clothes feel a bit too tight, but the sugar had overwhelmed my immune system. Sluggishness, a sore throat and head congestion greeted me Monday morning. Ugh! If only I could rewind to Friday and go lighter on the dessert throughout the weekend. Live and learn.
If I practiced some self-control where the Chocolate Explosion was concerned, I may have avoided getting sick. I had bumped into an undeniable truth: self control is important in all areas of my life – even in the small things.
Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, also known as temperance (Galatians 5:22-23; KJV). Yielding to the Spirit is the key to living a life filled with this precious fruit. Is it easy? No – it requires hard work. My old sin nature is constantly at war with my new spiritual nature. That’s why the apostle Peter says to diligently pursue adding some things to my faith. Pursuing something diligently means work is involved!
What should I be striving to add to my faith? “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance (self-control); and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity,” (2 Peter 1:5-7). Lots of great things I need to add to my faith – one of which is temperance.
Self-control doesn’t come naturally. It’s something I have to learn. The apostle Paul put it best when speaking with the Philippians, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” (Philippians 4:11-13).
How was Paul able to exercise self-control and contentment in these situations? He submitted himself to the will of Christ and obeyed the Lord in each circumstance. As a result he was able to demonstrate self-control and he experienced contentment.
The reality is that I WILL be making desserts and attending festivities where sugary goodies will be the highlight. My plan? Remember the example of the apostle Paul – demonstrate self-control and learn to be content with a modest portion!
Do you struggle with self-control? What step will you take to put this fruit of the Spirit into practice in your own life?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the fruit of the Spirit that includes self-control. Help me to realize the importance of demonstrating self-control even in the small areas. Teach me to be content, knowing that you are able to strengthen me in every situation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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