Self-control is the most difficult of the fruit of the Spirit for so many of us. In our world today our eyes and ears get fed an extravagant display of self-indulgence. We are fatter, angrier and more addicted than ever before as we have given ourselves over to self-indulgence instead of self-control. “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control” Proverbs 25:28 In ancient times the walls of a city made it harder for the enemy to invade and take control. Broken walls signified vulnerability and ultimate ruin.
I have been like the ebb and flow of the tide when it comes to self-control. I use to smoke cigarettes and I quit, but for 3 years I never stopped wanting one. So I started back and I quit again only to take up overeating in exchange for the withdrawals from nicotine addiction. I have said countless words in anger directed toward other drivers on the road that can’t even hear me. I love my Honda, but it has the most friendly sounding horn and during these exchanges I want it to sound like the blaring horn of a freight train. Its crazy, but we all have been there. I have worn anger like a battle weary warrior. Every time my emotions are in control it is absolute chaos.
Whatever self-control I may have thought I had, went out the window when that wonderful life changing event called menopause began. I developed an attitude, a tone and the least little thing would send me over the edge. One minute I was fine the next minute I went emotionally ballistic. The fog in my brain would not clear and I really thought something was seriously wrong with me because I was so out of control. I could not perform tasks well because I loss the ability to concentrate and I had to pause a moment to remember how to do what I was doing. I am thankful for my good friend, who told me everything I was going through was normal and my brain function would eventually return.
But it was here I reached the end of me, knowing that I needed to come under new management, and surrender to the Holy Spirit all control. For the fruit of the Spirit is self-control, but it is not self in control, it is surrendering self under the control of the Holy Spirit. I knew I needed the Holy Spirit’s power to control my behavior, emotions, attitudes and actions because I was completely failing at it on my own and faced ruin if I did not change. I did not have the power to change on my own, but I knew with the Holy Spirit I could. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13
So how do we begin this journey of self-control? We begin where it all starts, in the mind. Our minds control our passions and desires, so the battle for self-control is fought in the thought life. That is why the word tells us to, “Cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5 We have the power to do this through the Holy Spirit that lives in us, the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead.
Every day I begin my day with this prayer. Holy Spirit be my words, be my attitude. I give you my day, you lead, not me. ~ Cheryl
Your turn: I believe all of us struggle with self-indulgence in one way or another. Would you be willing to give up self-indulgence for self-control, and embrace the power to overcome these struggles though the Holy Spirit? – Breath on Paper