Many years ago I knew a lady who continually made excuses for herself and her husband. They were both professional people, but they had a number of personal issues. She would often say, “People need to learn to accept us as we are.” The problem was that they had no intention of working on their weaknesses or practising any kind of self-control and discipline. You can understand why people found them an exasperating couple and many of their friendships fractured.
Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit and one that we all need to practice. The Bible does not give us an option about this fruit. Rather, if we are committed Christ followers then it is assumed that we will have the fruit of self-control evident in our lives. That means we are not always making excuses for ourselves but we are constantly disciplining our lives and stewarding them towards the purposes of God.
So how do we practice the fruit of self-control that Paul speaks about in Galatians 5:22-23?
1. Don’t satisfy your self . . . control it!
It is easy to give in to our cravings and our lust. However, Paul says that we have to control those desires. I suppose you could say it is similar to self-discipline. Just as some people are disciplined when it comes to eating and exercise, so too, we should be disciplined when it comes to self. Any craving, desire or lust that is not wholesome must be controlled. We cannot make excuses. Yes, we are all human, but every one of us has the power to make choices. Your choice can be a good one or a bad one and that decision is entirely yours. I can guarantee you that there will be consequences for every decision you make—good or bad!
2. Self control is a daily discipline
You have to practice this discipline on a daily basis. Some of us have weaknesses in certain areas of our lives that others don’t. But we all have weaknesses and strengths. We need to ensure that we are constantly working on those areas of our lives that seek to bring us into bondage. You don’t practice self-control for a day and then give up. No! This is a life long practice—but like any exercise it becomes easier with time.
3. Self control is dying to self
There is a battle that goes on inside of us. Paul spoke about that battle in the book of Romans. Our carnal side (the human, fleshly part of our humanity) is battling against our spiritual side. We need to die to the carnal or fleshly part of our nature so that our spiritual part will grow. The more you feed that carnal aspect of your life the weaker the spiritual part of you is and vice versa. So feed the spiritual part of your humanity.
Self-control is a discipline that we all need to practice on a daily basis. Don’t make excuses, surrender yourself to a loving God and ask Him for His help today. He wants you to live your life successfully and well and to do so requires the fruit of self-control.
Have a blessed day my friends and may His Spirit lead you and guide you as you practice the fruit of self-control.