Have you ever reacted badly to something and immediately thought, oh no! I wish I hadn’t reacted like that? Or, that one particular reaction in a split second is going to have such awful consequences.
When I was younger ( not very long ago) my big sister stuck her foot out and tripped me up as I was walking down the hall in my house. I fell flat on my face and my lack of self control saw some very colourful language spill out of my ten year old mouth. Of course, this all happened just in ear shot of my Mum, which then resulted in me having my mouth washed out with soap and being labelled by my brother with the nickname soapy for the rest of my childhood. ( true story, phone Childline)
That’s just one very minor example of many consequences I had to endure because of my lack of self control.
If you happened to answer No to my question, you’re very fortunate indeed, and I would encourage you to firstly check for a pulse, and secondly, get yourself checked into some local clinic for research purposes.
We all at some stage in our lives have reacted badly in a situation.
We all have suffered consequences of our lack of self control.
It has to be a human condition, if not why would self control be a fruit of the spirit? Wouldn’t we have ample amounts of it without divine help? Self Control is something we need to seek and ask the Holy Spirit for more of.
I asked a group of friends once what fruit of the spirit did they feel they required the most and everyone, including myself, answered with self control as the top desire. Whether it be controlling what comes out of their mouth or what goes into their mouth. What our heart lusts for, or our reaction in tough situations, each one having their own reason for wanting more self control.
Personally, for me, what comes out of my mouth has always been an area in which I’ve needed more self control; not always in anger or rage, but sometimes just because what I might say is not necessary or appropriate at the particular place in time.
What goes into my mouth also. I’m currently off chocolate for Lent and, well, so far so good, But I’m cheating in the fact that I absolutely know there are enough foods besides chocolate that will satisfy my desires and cravings. Kind of defeats the purpose, but I do hope I can put more energy into seeking God in this period of Lent and sure isn’t that what it’s really about.
This week, surprisingly for a change, it wasn’t me in the hot seat, but I watched on as I witnessed someone else’s poor lack of self control, and the consequences of their obvious inability to control their tongue in a ten minute window when they were required to do so. It was all too familiar to circumstances I found myself in in the past, knowing that not so long ago and, without the help of the Holy Spirit, that would have been me.
I’m so thankful for how much God has grown me in this area over the past few years. I’m a long way off perfect, but still proud of my progress.
Ironically, the same day, I picked up the UCB Word for Today and started to read their daily devotion. The title was BORDERS… the opening scripture
Proverbs 25:18 A person without self control is like a city with broken down walls.
Which in today’s world doesn’t mean a lot because our cites now don’t tend to have great big walls around them. However, in the ancient world, a city wall was there for security to keep the enemy from attacking. A City with a broken down or fallen wall could easily be taken over and besieged.
And similarly, so can our hearts and minds without being mindful to the need of controlling not only our tongue but what we allow to fester in our hearts. Anger, bitterness, lust, unforgiveness, hate.
I once heard Joyce Meyers saying love and self control are the book end to the fruit of the Spirit; if you have them in place the rest of the fruit of the Spirit will fall into place. I’ve tried and tested this theory over the years and believe it to be very true indeed.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
We need to get our bookend in place. We need to be aware of the consequences of poor self control and just how much the enemy will jump at these opportunities to infiltrate and set up residence in our hearts and minds.
Philippians 4:8, NIV: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
Today, can I just encourage you to take some time with God talking over any areas of your life in which you particularly lack self control. Allow his spirit to minister to you encourage and strengthen you in the areas you lack. Take that new awareness with you through your week and give thanks for the times when you feelHoly Spirits power making that difference.