What is an area of your life where you battle something which controls you? Whatever your battle, and whatever mine, God wishes for us to have one thing in common—a deep longing to be like Christ. As one of the nine fruit of the Spirit, self-control reveals the depth of God's spiritual transformation within us. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23a). Whether self-control is real or not speaks just how much control we have submitted to Jesus Christ.
“Now you know what you should do,” Paul reminded the Thessalonians. “It is God’s will that you should be holy. You should be masters of your own body. This brings honor to God. Certainly don’t give away to lust like people who don’t the Lord! Don’t ever forget God has called you be to be pure” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7)! We are to honor God by mastering our personal battles. In the very next verse, Paul makes it clear what happens when we refuse. “Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 4:8). We either decide for God, or decide for ourselves. Moses instructed the Israelites to choose life or death, blessing or curse (Deuteronomy 30: 19-20). Choosing life in Jesus brings spiritual blessing. When we are out of control, we reject God’s instruction and choose a life without the Holy Spirit. Without discipline we choose death.
Pretty strong stuff, isn’t it? You feel it is impossible? “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach,” Moses told the Israelites concerning God’s instruction to choose life. “It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14). If God’s Word is cherished within your heart you have the ability to choose life. Your potential to accomplish the positive is infinite.
Self-control is choosing life. Tomorrow we will look at the way we are transformed by the Holy Spirit through submission. It is our spiritual act of worship. And if we say yes, He can accomplish and control what we struggle with each day of our lives.