We’ve traveled along together for some time now learning the lessons of spiritual warfare. God has proclaimed nine aspects – or segments – which He termed fruit of the Spirit. Our premise has been that Satan and his screwed-up crowd are going to peck at you, Raven-like, attacking your ability to reflect the beauty of those nine Blessed Outworkings.
Do you see evidences of these attacks in your life? This week we focus on the segment of the Fruit called Self Control. Self control is the key hilltop sought after by the Enemy. Why is this? Perhaps the answer lies in the answer to the following question:
- Why is Self-Control listed last?
I would suggest that self control is the common denominator, the doorway to violations of all the other eight (8) segments. Self Control is the doorway to access and make Godly use of the eight other segments – or since doorways work in both directions – lack of self control means our character will begin to reflect the opposite “fruit” – the demonic fruit of indulgence.
Our approach today will be to study five (5) aspects, or characteristics of self-control. If these five are present and increasing in the life of the Believer, then great progress will be made in defeating our own indulgences and living with self control.
(1) “We all serve somebody.” And that means we routinely find ourselves between doing the wrong and right thing. You cannot sit in the middle and believe you are on Bible Ground. You are not.
- How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him. 1 Kings 18:21
But we tend to live with compromise – something that Christ Himself proclaimed against…
- No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. Matthew 6:24
(2) We all can attain self-control. So often we accept the whispered suggestion that we are just made this way – and that we are permanent victims of defeat. The verse below tells us that all things are made available to one on the Jesus path. Is there anything missing from the word “all” ? Is the difficult circumstance you face not included in the word “ALL”? Notice too, that this power is not promised later on; after some milestone or level of spirituality is reached… The power is spoken of in the past tense. We can master self-control
- According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness 2 Peter 2:3
(3) We all require discipline. Each of us have barnacles needing attention. And no matter how often we’ve thought to correct and “turn over a new leaf” etc, we will not succeed without discipline. Now there is an enormous collection of life behaviors and habits which benefit from a disciplined approach to living. But today I want to zero in on the discipline of Bible Study – of the necessity for personal time reading the Word of God. I wish to convey three underpinnings or evidences of discipline in this practice. We must be intentional, routine and whole hearted about it.
- Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air but I discipline my body and make it my slave. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27
- Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1-2
- I have called upon You every day, oh Lord; I have spread out my hands to You. Psalm 88:6
- In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. Psalm 5:3
- May my prayer be counted as incense before You; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering Psalm 141:2
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27
(4) We all need hope. No question, life is tricky. We tire and become fatigued. We can come to feel overwhelmed and soured. The Word of God is Itself our source of hope – and study of it will bolster our optimism and bring hope.
- For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:5
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3
(5) We all are indulgent. Gut check. If we are honest we can look in the mirror and see we all need to step away from ourselves – away from our own egos and intentions. We hold secrets; evidences of a “double-life” – of walking the Jesus Path and of having another deep-rooted impulse to cottle and nurture our own desires. This must be faced and dealt with. We must acknowledge this scizm before God and seek to unearth and destroy those evil influences we are so apt to embrace.
- All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way… Isaiah 53:6
- You have placed our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence. Psalm 90:8
These five aspects towards Godly Self-Control are by no means exhaustive, but certainly (should we discipline ourselves to work through them) we will be improved by facilitating the quest for the Holy Spirit to govern our impulses. I trust you will find time to listen to the video. Lord bless you and thank you for taking time to work through this critical material.