Words of Hope: Self Control
I love thinking about the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God seems full of joy, life, and abundance. Maybe I believe this because I associate the gifts of the Holy Spirit with the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
We walked outside for staff meeting this week and prayed for one another. Each of us selected a fruit we would like to see God’s Spirit raising up in our lives. One person selected faithfulness, to be full of faith which is a new way of thinking of this word for me. Another chose patience, and the ability to notice tones as a parent that might be filled with exasperation rather than tenderness. One person chose peace, she is getting married soon and that is a good word when preparing for a wedding: the peace to enjoy the moment, taste the food, greet the guests, and dance. One person chose gentleness. She has a radiant laugh that brings levity to the entire office, and she can be quick to anger. Gentleness is a good one for me too, but instead I chose self-control.
I have been meditating on self-control. I read the Greek word used is “enkrateia,” meaning “strong, having mastery, able to control one’s thoughts and actions.” As a fruit, developed in me by the Holy Spirit, I must abide in Christ, connected to Him. Control of self, the discipline to manage godly and positive thinking, to be thankful instead of complaint focused, to be mindful of what I say and why I say it. The opposite of self-control is recklessness, lack of control, and being out of control. I picture this as unwillingness to submit to what the beloved other is asking of me and wanting to go my own way. I picture this as ego, choosing to say what I want, when I want, and how I want without regard to others. I will ask God to grow in me this beautiful gift. Which fruit of the Spirit do you need from the Lord?
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. – Galatian 5:22-25