Saturday, December 19, 2015

Fruit of the Spirit ~ Self-Control

Self-Control: The ability to control one's emotions and desires or the expression of them in one's behavior.

Titus 2:11-14
     "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works."

Tis the season for self-control, fa la la la la la la la la..... Ok a little fun and games but seriously this is the season that most people think of "me me me",  "what can I get for Christmas?" and "what are you getting me for Christmas?". "Oh I would love that!", "Here is my Christmas list." I thought that self-control was the perfect way to wrap up our Fruits of the Spirit. I don't know if God wanted us to have an extra emphasis on self-control, however self-control is something that in this day and age and in our era of "me me me" is impossible. It needs to be not just well taught, but also learned and worked at, and you have to ask God over and over again and pray for self-control. This time of year I think is the hardest. Every time that you go into the store you see all these beautiful things and you want them and it is just temptation every time. I really don't know how you can avoid it. It is right in your face the second you walk in the door, on the radio, "Look what you can get for $5!", "Oh this weekend is a sale!". My favorite Christmas's growing up were always around family. Don't get me wrong I'm the type of person where if you give me something and I don't even care if there is anything in the box I just like to shred the wrapping paper. You can ask my family, I literally destroy Christmas gifts. My mom has combatted this with teaching me patience, which is something that I definitely need to work on and another fruit of the spirit. She decided that it would be a great idea to have us go in order from youngest to oldest, including her and dad, which put me right in the middle. It was horrible. That is how we opened our Christmas presents, one     at      a      time.  So my sister would go first than my brother and than I would destroy my gift and like it for all of five seconds and then be really irritated the entire time that everyone was going, while I would be slowly opening my present. I had no self-control whatsoever. Still to this day, I do admit, on Christmas morning my husband is sometimes embarrassed by how I act. I am the three year old in the group

Now I really do know what Christmas is all about and that is Jesus. I believe that a lot of our sin and the reason why Jesus had to come be our savior is based off of a lack of self-control. It can be seen throughout the Bible. Let's start at the beginning.

Eve: God told her to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil but Satan told her that she should and instead of having self-control and saying "God told me not to do this, I think I should listen to Him." She was like "yeah you know what? That does look pretty tasty." and she ate it. Genesis 3:1-6

Than we move on a little further and we have Cain and Abel and Cain is mad and everything would be a lot different if he had simply had self-control and realized that his anger was the cause not Abel. Who knows what this world would look like if he hadn't raised that rock? Genesis 4:7-8

We can also take a look at Noah's time. No one had self-control. Jesus said in the end of days it will be as Noah and the flood. I am not seeing self-control in the near future, so obviously self-control was not something that Noah's time had.  Luke 17:26

Abraham: God told Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son, and Abraham and Sarah both didn't have the faith or the self-control to wait and instead Sarah gave Abraham Hagar, her maidservant. Abraham also not having self-control to say "No, you are my wife and God said that we would have a son not our family that includes Hagar." So he gave in and we have Isaac and Ishmael. That in itself has caused problems that we see today in the middle east. There is a reason why they have been in constant war. Genesis 16:2-3 

Moving forward to David, this is a big one and it is lust. Lust is a major lack of self-control. When you get married you say "for better or worse for richer or poorer". Everything in that is self-control. You are giving yourself to that person and they are giving themselves to you. They expect you to think of them as your only person, your complete soul mate. They expect you to have self-control around others and to stay within the boundaries of marriage that God put forth in the beginning, and David stepped outside of these boundaries. David saw Bathsheba bathing and he not only had a lack of self-control for himself but he also violated Uriah's because Uriah kept himself just for Bathsheba and David took her from him. 2 Samuel 11:2-4

Throughout the Bible you see all these examples of what a lack of self-control is and what does it show you? It shows us all of our errors, sin, death, disobedience and adultery. All the sins that one can commit against God spur from a lack of self-control. You need to refrain from temptation and refrain would be to control your self. It is not easy. Being a Christian is not easy. It does not have many rules but the general concept is being faithful to God and living a righteous life. Two general rules. If you are not doing either one of these than you are breaking all of the commandments. It is like Jesus said "Upon these two all the law hangs." Jesus' life was complete, it was love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. All of his acts were for others and to glorify God the Father.

So this is something to think about during the holiday season, and don't get me wrong during this time of year you can still enjoy getting the gifts that friends and family have found for you. But you should remember that we already have the greatest gift of all. The gift of salvation and eternal life. What other gift do you want or need? So enjoy this time by giving to others who need it. Enjoy this Christmas with self-control.

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