The Virtue of Self-Control
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
As we consider the virtues found within the fruit of the Spirit (remember it’s a singular fruit), we come to the one that ties them all together; the virtue of self-control. You will not grow in your Christian life, nor will you increasingly display the fruit of God’s Spirit, if you do not first exhibit this characteristic.
Do you think it was easy to stay the course of His Father’s will all the way to the Cross? Of course not! A normal man would have quit long before. Jesus exhibited self-control. He kept going in spite of the obstacles.
If you try to live the Christian life to the full it will not come without sacrifice. It won’t be easy. You will face temptations and struggles far beyond your normal ability to endure. I can’t even promise you that it will always be fun! But, there is no better life!
Jesus has called us to something greater than is found in the natural world. He has called us to abundance found only in Him and in His Father’s Kingdom.
One of the hardest spiritual disciplines in my life is prayer. I understand why Jesus had to ask the disciples “couldn’t you tarry with me for just an hour”. Prayer is hard work! It takes a great amount of discipline for most of us. Still, I know there is no greater work in the Kingdom than for me to commune with my Creator! So, in order for this aspect of my journey with Christ to grow, it will require self-control. Will I choose the TV or Christ? Will I read the sports magazine or His Holy Word? Will I sit and talk with my friends, or talk with my friend who “sticks closer than a brother”?
The Christian life really is a lot about the choices I make for myself. Self-control involves placing His will ahead of my own. “Not my will, but thy will be done.” Do you and I have the self-control to carry out His will?