Fruits of the Spirit: Self-control
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Gal 5:22-23 (NASB)
“A man without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.” Prov 25:28 TLB
When I hear of “self-control”, I think of the difference between a wild Stallion & a War Horse. A War Horse is power under control and is mighty, useful. A wild Stallion though seemingly free is unbridled power and is therefore dangerous when close. I recently saw an exhibition of Andalusian horses, including a horse that hopped on its hind legs the entire length of the stadium. Yes, incredible power and skill. What also struck me was the trust between horse and rider; that both were tuned to the other (through their many hours together), and together could accomplish much.
Especially inside “The Beltway”, I have seen a fear of true masculine strength (both in and out of the Church). Evidently many of those folks experienced masculine power that was not under God’s control, leading to the sense that emasculation is safer. It pains me that is the personal experience for so many people today.
As individuals and within society, self-control & liberty are tightly coupled. We are to “urge the young men to be sensible and self-controlled and to behave wisely” (Titus 2:6) and thus avoid the consequences of imposed State-control. Without self-control throughout society, liberty breaks down into anarchy or authoritarian state-control.
In Paul’s description of personal liberty in 1 Cor 9, he concludes with, “I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises s elf-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, … but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” 1Cor 9:23-27 (NASB).
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank you that when exercising self-control, I can trust all that I am and all that I have to You. I willingly lay down the fleeting enticements of this world to run the race to the end to win the imperishable prize. Not just for me, but teach how “to urge the young men to besensibleandself-controlledandtobehavewisely”. Amen.