Self-Control – The Last Fruit I Had Planned to Talk About

After dropping the kids off at school this morning, I was driving back home in my car and I thought, “I should really work on that blog post for joy I started weeks ago.”  The thought that quickly followed that was, “Ha! How am I even qualified to talk about the fruits of the Spirit?”  Let’s face it, I don’t see an abundance of fruits in my life some days….maybe most days.

Then another thought popped into my head that I believe was the Spirit speaking truth to my heart. No person is qualified to talk about the fruits of the Spirit with authority.  Duh, right? Only the Spirit can guide us into truth.  You may read my words in this post and all those before it, and they may be words of truth.  However, if the Spirit isn’t speaking that truth to you personally, you simply won’t hear it.  I mean, your ears will hear, or your eyes will see it, but your inner spirit may not receive it and apply it to your life.

That is the significance of the Spirit.  The fruit OF the Spirit is just that….the Spirit’s fruit, not mine.  Not yours.  Even in our pursuit of godliness, we try to do it on our own!!  How messed up is that!  Maybe we don’t display the fruit, because we try to force the fruit to grow.  We decide, well I am lacking in patience today, let’s focus on patience.  I am not so sure it works that way.  Self-control should more rightly be called Spirit-control.  Or even Spirit-guided.

Self-control should more rightly be called Spirit-control.  Or even Spirit-guided.

I have been reading C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy.  I am about three chapters into the third book.  Fascinating reading!  I highly recommend it to any Christian.  Such a different perspective to God and life on earth than any I have seen before.  I am not saying he is right or wrong….it is a fictional work.  But the principle I am taking from it, summed up, is this.  The keys to hell are self-awareness.  The keys to heaven are complete self-surrender.

The keys to hell are self-awareness.  The keys to heaven are complete self-surrender.

In the garden, Eve was tempted by the devil, not so much because the fruit looked good to eat, but because of the idea that there is more out there for her to know than innocent surrender to God’s plan.  It was there all along, but she didn’t know what it was until the serpent told her.  This is what attracted her.  The idea that she could be more, apart from God.  That opened the door to a whole new world, a whole new self-centered ideology.  Read this paragraph two more times.  You still may not grasp it and that is okay, but that was a HUGE revelation to me.

We may look at Eve and think, she had everything she needed in the garden.  We may think, what more could she possibly want? She wasn’t even aware that there was more that might be desired until it was brought to her attention that she wasn’t thinking outside herself, outside of God’s plan for her.  She could be like God.

What is my point with post, and how does it relate to the fruit of the Spirit?  As I have eluded to a couple of times here, I don’t believe self-control is really us controlling ourselves.  It us surrendering our will and what we think we want or need, to God’s will.  It is subjecting our thoughts and actions to Him.  Only when we surrender wholly to Him will the Spirit be able to take the reins and bear fruit through us.

Only when we surrender wholly to Him will the Spirit be able to take the reins and bear fruit through us.

I am guilty of not surrendering to Him.  I mean, I have asked Him into my life, I believe in and put my faith in Christ, and I believe I am saved.  But this action of surrendering is done daily, minute by minute.  I can’t control myself.  Only the Spirit can.  I can’t even surrender on my own.  I have to pray like a mad-woman to be able offer control of myself to God.  I have to remind myself, or rather, the Spirit reminds me, that Christ took the punishment for my sin on Himself.  God was well aware that self-awareness, the knowledge of good and evil, brought with it separation from Him.  He loved us so much that He sacrificed HIMSELF for us to bring us back to Him.

So if you are feeling condemned today remember these words from Romans 8:1-4.  “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh,  in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

Isn’t that beautiful! We are no longer condemned!

I wrote this song when going through a particularly tough time in my life last year.  I was at a crossroads and struggling with a lack of direction.  I was there for most of the year looking at all the possibilities and wondering when God was going to move.  I pray the words to this song minister to your heart and help you feel that you are not alone.  Our victory is not ours, it is God’s.

You’re My Victory

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