What Controls You? The Spirit or The Flesh?
Café Menu for Monday, September 28, 2015
Today’s Special is: Self-Control Comes From The Presence Of God In Our Lives
Carefully prepared just for you by your friend, Jane McCaskill
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.
John 15:5 NIV
The word “fruit” mentioned here in John is referring to spiritual fruit, not the fruit so often thought of as producing other Christians.
In Galatians 5:22 and 23, Paul list the fruit of the Spirit which should be apparent in the Christian’s life. Our spiritual strength is found in our spiritual gifts. In God’s value system “being” is a higher order of measure rather than “doing”. So, as we strive to grow in our spiritual life, we realize that the fruit Paul refers to is God’s measuring tool. He measures our spiritual maturity on the basis of possessing and growing stronger in our spiritual gifts.
It becomes apparent that Paul mentioned “self-control” last of the gifts, to emphasize its importance. It is also the most difficult gift to demonstrate consistently. It takes more than will-power to have lasting self-control; it takes a power greater than us.
Exhibiting self-control becomes one of the most dynamic witnessing tools that God has created. The unbeliever can see that something other than the sinful nature is in control.
Our desires should reflect that we are not of this sinful world, but that we can live above sinful practices like sexual immorality, impurity, and dishonesty; hero worship and witchcraft; hate, conflict, jealously, fits of anger, selfish desires, discord, strife, and greed; drunkenness and orgies and the like which is found in Galatians 5:19.
This is why self-control is a vital component in the list of fruit of the Spirit. Without it we are not able to control our own emotions, desires, attitudes and impulses. If we are not controlled by the Spirit, then we are controlled by the flesh which is sinful.
It is God’s desire that we bear much spiritual fruit. As self-control grows, we show the world that God is in control.
You have always heard that “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”, however, if you give him enough block salt he will drink. God says we are the salt of the earth; we are to make people thirsty for what we have. Our lives are to produce fruit so that this world would be hungry for what we have.
Self-control is the evidence that the presence of God’s Spirit is operative in our lives and that the fruit we are bearing is growing in self-control and obedience to Christ.
Sit down and list the sins of the people of Galatia in chapter 5. Go over the list carefully thinking about each sin listed. Then, ask yourself if you have control or does the flesh control you. We can hide a lot in our hearts that no one knows about.
Father, thank You for the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit that helps us live a life, pleasing to You. Help us to live in such a way that our light of hope would shine in this very dark world. I ask You to work in our hearts, that You would show us the things that are out of control in our lives. Would You be a powerful source of strength in us, so we can have self-control over the sins in our lives? Thank You for working in us to produce a character that is more like You. For it is in Your Precious Name We Pray, Amen.
© 2015 by Jane McCaskill. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Monday, 28 September 2015.