But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)
It’s finally autumn. That’s a big deal for Arizona. With our scorching, hot summers, fall and winter are the seasons we look forward to the most. Although relatively warm compared to other parts of the country, our temperatures of low eighties and high to low seventies are like paradise after the sizzling heat of summer.
I have to admit, though, there is one aspect of summer that I really enjoy no matter what state I’m living in and that’s summer fruit. There’s nothing quite like walking through the farmers’ market in Iowa and picking out my favorite summer fruit: cherries, peaches and nectarines, apricots, pineapples, strawberries, etc. Cherries are like my summer candy. In Upstate New York, you only have to drive every few miles before running into a roadside fruit stand chock full of a delicious array of wonderful summer fruits.
Now that fall has arrived, it’s difficult to find those juicy summer delicacies. Of course, some stores may import them from other parts of the world, but it’s nothing quite like the stuff that’s locally or regionally grown.
When we are born again, there is a fruit that is given to all believers at the time of their new birth: The fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are never out of season. The fruit of the Spirit is the change in our character that comes about because of the Holy Spirit’s work in us. This fruit is with us all the time and accessible anytime.
I specifically want to zero in on the fruit of self-control. Philippians 2:13 tells us, For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. It’s so easy, sometimes, to forget, during the heat of a battle, that we have the power of the Holy Spirit to help control our emotions, our thoughts and our actions. I can’t tell you how many times we have had to shake our coaching couples (not literally, although the temptation was there), particularly those who profess Christ, into the realization that they can actually control the vitriol that proceeds out of their mouths when trying to win an argument. We hear all too often, “I couldn’t help myself,” and we remind them Who lives on the inside of them. Therefore, self-control is readily available for access if they would only use it.
The fruit of self-control is not simply will power. Rather, it’s the power of the universe, God’s Holy Spirit, dwelling on the inside of us that allows us to live victorious lives in this sinful, challenging world. So, when you feel like you have what I call the “can’t help its”, remember, you can!
In Matthew 8:2-3, we see this account: Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. My question to you is: Are you willing to ask God to help you allow the fruit of self-control to be an everyday part of your life? I pray your answer is, “I am willing.” (Pam)