“Think clearly and exercise self-control….
You must live as God’s obedient children.
Don’t slip back into your old ways
of living to satisfy your own desires.”“Self” is that part of us which is in rebellion against God. It is our sinful nature which does not want to, indeed can not, obey God. It will dominate our life unless we allow the power of the Holy Spirit to bring it under control.
Peter 1:13-14 NLT
Peter 1:13-14 NLT
To the degree that we allow self to control us, it will really mess up our lives and the lives of the people around us. Paul refers to this in Galatians 5:19-21 just before he mentions the fruit of the Spirit. “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
What a sickening list. You may or may not be struggling with some of these gross sins. But some of these sins in their “refined” forms may invade our thought life. Jesus taught that lustful glances and fantasies are the same as carrying out the act itself. Then there is that whole area of excesses of good things – eating –drinking – leisure – pleasure - clothing – spending etc., etc. What about - uncontrolled anger – profanity – critical spirit – selfishness - gossip - "and other sins like these."
I don’t know about you, but I have to admit there are areas in my life that need help with self control. The good news is that God has made a way to bring self under control. “Dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.”(Romans 8:12,13) Self-control is at the heart of all the facets of the fruit of the Spirit. To the degree that we allow the Spirit to bring our sinful nature under control, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness” will all flourish in our lives. The secret is to be filled (controlled by) the Holy Spirit.
Father, self is in control in our lives too much of the time. We need the power of your Holy Spirit to be in control of self. We desperately need a fresh infilling of your Spirit! Please bring it about, whether in answer to pleading prayers, or by sovereignly touching our lives. Cause your Spirit to fill us once again!!
We ask it in Jesus name.