Fruit of the Spirit

(part 10)

 

Greetings precious people. In todayís article we will continue our look at the subject of the Fruit of the Spirit as revealed in Godís Word, the Bible. In Galatians 5:22-23, we read, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." So far we have looked at love, joy peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faith, and gentleness. If you missed any of these and would like a copy of them, just let me know and Iíll send you a copy free of charge. Today we will examine the final fruit that is mentioned which is self-control, also known as temperance.

Self-control and temperance is the ability to show self-restraint in conduct, expression, indulgence of the appetites, etc. It is the ability to say no to that which you know is not right or good though everyone else says it is ok. This without question is not a trait that is found within mankind. Though each person may have a measurable amount of self-control in certain areas of their life, everyone struggles with various areas of our life. Living in the self-indulgent, all restraints bared society that we do, self-control becomes an even greater struggle.

Some people have little to no self-control when it comes to food. Obesity is a growing problem in our country, no pun intended. Enough money is spent in our country alone on diet foods and programs each year to feed the entire population of the world. Others have no self-control when it comes to their temper. Someone does something to them, by accident or on purpose and look out, they fly off the handle in a rage. A growing number of people are realizing the lack of self-control when it comes to gambling. This problem is intensified with all of the casinos in our area. Still others suffer from a lack of self-control in regards to their mouth. They have to always be talking about someone or something. Many times it is not in a way that encourages or builds up the other person. These are just a few of the things in which people suffer from the lack of self-control.

It needs to be understood that none of us have the power within ourselves to exercise self-control. All of the self-help books that are written are not able to empower you to exercise the self-control that is needed to overcome sin. They may offer some good suggestions at times, but they all lack the wherewithal to gain true victory. It is helpful to change habits and practices that lead to a lack of self-control but the real issue lies within the heart. The Bible, Godís Word, tells us that, "Then Peter answered and said to Him, "Explain this parable to us." So Jesus said, "Are you also still without understanding? Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." Matthew 15:14-19. And King Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived tells us in Proverbs 4:23-27, "Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil."

The reason for repeated failure in our attempts to exercise self-control in our lives is our insistence on looking to everyone but God. I have found that the major cause people refuse to turn to God for help is pride. They would rather believe a lie that tells them that they have the "power" within rather than admit that they are helpless and incapable of helping themselves. God requires all that would come to Him must come in humility, humbleness of heart. In Isaiah 57:15, "For thus says the High and Lofty One

Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones." And in James 4:6-10, "But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up."

The pride of man is the number one thing that keeps him away from God. It amazes me how ironic this all is. Here is puny little man, with a life span of 70 years. The Bible tells us that we are but dust, here today and gone tomorrow, living on a tiny little planet in a vast universe that God Almighty created by simply speaking it into existence. He offers us all the help we could ever need, but we think that we donít need it. What can a piece of dust do for itself anyway?

God in His Grace and Mercy, offers to do for us that which we could never do for ourselves. To give us the same self-control that we see in the life of Jesus Christ. He who was tempted by all the forces of the world and Hell, yet was able to exercise the highest degree of self-control. As they mocked and ridiculed Him, falsely accused Him, beat, scourged, and nailed Him to the Cross and then made fun of Him more, telling Him if He just came down off the Cross they would believe in Him. He could have kept Himself from suffering all those horrible things, and at any time He could have wiped out all of His adversaries, but He did not. Why? Because He had a job to do. Jesus came to this earth for one specific reason, to go to the Cross of Calvary and there shed His precious blood for our sins, that we might by Grace through Faith, receive the forgiveness of our sins.

It took a great deal of self-control and He did it. This same self-control He offers to work into and out of those that will trust in Him and walk in obedience to Him. Do you know this self-control in your life today? You can, turn to Jesus Christ today and let Him begin to work His Good and Perfect will in your life.

If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail ccalpine@juno.com

Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine