But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.~Galatians 5:22-23a CSB
“Yes ma’am, Mama, but sometimes you know it’s really, really hard to use self-control.”
Newt was patiently and intently listening to his mom explain to him how choosing to use self-control was the right thing to do. He knew this, but to his 2nd grade mind, it was a bit of a challenge to consciously think about how he was going to react to spontaneous situations. But he had been taught right from wrong ever since he could remember, and the concept of self-control was nothing new to him.
Newt’s parents had taught him well. He has grown into a fine Christian man who had been a leader all through high school and college and is now following his dream of a career in Agriculture. Newt learned self-control as a child, as well as the other fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. Newt learned these lessons well.
For apart from me you can do nothing.~John 15:5b NLT
When we fail to exercise discipline, we can often find ourselves enslaved by unhealthy habits such as overeating, overspending, or by any number of other bad practices. Using self-control reflects Jesus, and God is glorified when we do so.
One of the first things we can do is to pray, asking God to show us areas where we lack self-control and to reveal the things which we need in order to grow spiritually. He may show us through studying Scripture or observing others exercise self-control in their daily lives. We can also ask someone we trust to be our accountability partner to help us stay on track. Praying daily for God to help us in using self-control can be one of the most important steps we take toward remaining faithful in our walk with Him.
The fruit of self-control is the hardest fruit for me to live by, personally. I am impulsive and sometimes am guilty of not thinking things through before I act. Or react. I agree with what Newt said to his mom when he was a little boy. Even though I am an adult, sometimes it is hard to exercise self-control. Sometimes it is easier to act hastily. Or to react. My dependence on the Holy Spirit is the only way to let self-control be dominant in my daily walk with the Lord.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.~Ephesians 4:9 NIV
We do not have to be unkind whenever we are treated rudely. We can choose not to react with harsh words or anger, but to act by showing kindness and gentleness. We can speak words which lift spirits and bring encouragement. That person may just be having a bad day, and our words can make a difference in the outcome of their day. God wants us to speak words which build others up. He wants us to use self-control for the betterment of His kingdom, and he is pleased when we do this.
Think of ways you can teach children to use self-control during their play time.
Father God, help me to be obedient to You, and exercise the spiritual fruit of self-control, whenever I am tempted to have my own way.
In the holy name of Jesus. Amen.
Copyright 2020: The Fruit of Self Control: Evelyn Mason Wells: All Rights Reserved