Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
Matthew 16:24 NIV
I love to bake, and the hardest part of baking is, self-control.
After those warm chocolate chip cookies come out of the oven, boy do they smell good! Gooey with lots of melted chocolate. My mouth is already watering.
My mind starts thinking, maybe just a little taste to make sure they are good. One small bite can’t hurt. Then before I know it, the cookie is gone and I feel a need for just one more. If I do eat the one more, guilt sets in. Ugh!
The definition of self-control is the ability to regulate one's emotions, thoughts, and behavior in the face of temptations and impulses.
Self-Control is not easy! At times, it feels nearly impossible.
It’s interesting to me that self-control is listed as the last fruit of the spirit. I think that self-control is needed for us to live out all of them. When I am faced with a situation, good or bad, the adrenaline that is sparked within me immediately provides me with my emotions. The emotions come before I can even think about it, and my actions aren’t always what I want them to be.
Our desires and emotions tempt us every day.
The Bible says, for everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world.
1 John 2:16 NIV.
That’s why self-control is not about self. It’s about denying oneself.
I can’t do it by myself!
I can’t choose to live by any of the fruits of the spirit unless I choose to let the Holy Spirit dwell within me. It is only with Him that I am able to live out those characteristics that I am called to live.
Biblical self-control means choosing to give up trying to control things on our own, surrendering to God for help, and working alongside Him for real change.
When I lack self-control, I am controlled by my immediate gratification. If I don’t choose to rely on the Holy Spirit to make the right choices, I can’t become my best self.
When I die to myself or surrender to God’s way over my own way, I will find a more beautiful and fulfilling life on the other side. Even better than those warm chocolate chip cookies, and that’s hard to beat!
Have you accepted the Holy Spirit to dwell within you? What do you need to surrender over to God’s way instead of your own?
With love and joy,