April 28, 2016

Who Is the Holy Spirit and What Does He Have To Do With Fruit? (Part 9)

As Christians, we're supposed to be filled with the Spirit of God. But what, exactly, does that look like? Well, for one thing, it looks like self-control.

What in the Word: Galatians 5:22-25

Hang-Onto-It Verse: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23a)

Sweet friends, I'm so honored to introduce to you the authors of the final post in our fruit of the Spirit series. Kyrsten Newlon (my honorary niece) and her friend Rebekah True are from Richland, Michigan, and have only recently begun writing Christian articles online. They love writing books together, performing in musicals, and blogging. Jesus Christ has transformed their lives and given them a beautiful friendship that shines into all they do together. Drink in Kyrsten and Rebekah's words, written straight from their sweet young hearts...

The last characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. I think a lot of Christians kind of skip past this virtue when reading through the list. How often do we assume that we can easily control ourselves? But as I think more deeply on this subject, the more I realize that God doesn’t want us to control us. He wants Him to control us. Let’s dive in…

What is it? So what is self-control? According to the dictionary, it is defined as “the ability to control oneself, in particular one's emotions and desires or the expression of them in one's behavior, especially in difficult situations”. Okay. Easy enough. But what does the Bible say about self-control?

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:11-13).

God has prepared our hearts for Him. As God’s living temples (2 Corinthians 6:16), we are called to be pure and godly, not lacking self-control. I believe that it is very important to have self-control as God’s temple. Jesus dwells in me, and so I need to make my heart a suitable temple for Him and by Him.

Self-control is important to have as Christians, because we need to be able to control our spirits--to protect our hearts from bad influences and keep our bodies from harmful habits. Self-control will refine your life and, as you apply it to your behavior, you will notice a change of heart. The Holy Spirit will be able to take better control of your life to guide you in the direction that God has for you.

Who has it? 2 Timothy 1:7 says that God has granted us a spirit of power, not of fear. This beautiful, sacred spirit offered to us by God directs our heart and guides us if we have accepted him. God will give the spirit of power and self-control to anyone who asks. “Each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable” (1 Thessalonians 4:4).

Each of us should have self-control. Not just the ones who struggle with anger issues or anxiety levels. Let’s be honest, don’t we all have our struggles? Every one of us struggles with temptations and every one of us need the Holy Spirit’s control.

Good news! God loves to give his self-control to us all. He loves giving us the Holy Spirit. We just need to step out and take it.

What next? “Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control" (1 Corinthians 7:5b).

Once we have the Holy Spirit, Satan and our human wills will fight against it. It's hard to discern when it is the Spirit speaking to us or Satan trying to deceive us in disguise. But you can be sure that if you ask God for clarity in his voice, He will give you answers in his perfect timing. Do not forget about God’s spirit of control. His will for you is best, so don’t try to fight it. He will help you control everything from your food habits to your temper, and much more. So then, go forth and conquer in the name of Jesus! His spirit will produce fruit in you…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The control of the Spirit of God!

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness.” (2 Peter 1:5-6).

"When your words came, I ate them; 
they were my joy and my heart's delight." (Jeremiah 15:16)

(Looking for Part 8 of this series? Find it here.)

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