Sunday, August 21, 2011

Touching Base! Part 138

The Invisible Gift: Self Control

A Guest Posting by Lew Worrad

(This article can also we found on our website at
http://www.bethelkingston.comunder the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

The Fruits of the Spirit, as delineated by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22, 23, have long been a template to evaluate Christian character. Surely all of us would be better people if we exhibited all of these Fruits of the Spirit in our lives. None of them are disposable. Yet not all of them are truly valued in the same manner. Such is the fate of the fruit: self control.

The mere fact that it is listed as last in a list of nine such traits leads some to believe that it is the least important of these traits. An ‘add on’, so to speak! Yet maybe its position in the list says something quite the opposite. Maybe the best has been saved to last.

Think of it this way - what would love be without self control? Or what would goodness be without self control? What would peacefulness be without self control? Any good thing can easily become a bad thing if it is not under control. So self control is quite necessary, essential one might say. But it is also quite invisible. Self control is not so much seen for what it does in itself - it is seen in what other things do not do. For example a truly loving person is seen as loving when they love in a situation where they could reasonably be expected not to love. The same is true of a good person. They are known as good due to the fact that they do good things when in fact they would not be expected to do a good thing. They are under control.

Surely, as Paul writes to the Galatians, they are out of control especially in the moral and spiritual areas of their lives. If they need anything, they need self control. And, if we take Paul’s other writings seriously, for example 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, we become keenly aware of the fact that a key requirement for a church leader is the fruit of Self Control.

Nowhere is Self Control more evident than in the life of the Lord, Jesus. He exercises self control in the face of threats from both political and religious leaders. He does so in the face of temptation by the Devil. And surely, if self control was ever in view, it was at the cross. Spit upon, mocked, cursed, humiliated, beaten… this self controlled Jesus is able to say, “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.”

How does one acquire such self control? Paul states a number of things in the text:
  1. Live in the Spirit,
  2. Follow the Spirit,
  3. Crucify earthly passions and lusts, and
  4. Stay in sync with the Spirit.
Here are a few questions you might want to contemplate:
  1. How self controlled am I?
  2. In what area of my life am I least in control?
  3. What steps do I need to take to change this situation?
  4. How can I improve my relationship with the Spirit of God?
Lew Worrad

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