This week we continued exploring the Fruits of the Spirit. We looked at the final fruit, Self Control. As we allow the Spirit to grow self control in our lives, the other eight fruits (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness) are in seen in our lives.
The "self controlled" life, biblically speaking is more aptly called the "spirit controlled" life or alternatively, the "surrendered life." Culturally, "self" control has it'semphasis on "self"-- self will, self motivated, self driven, self directed, self focused etc.. Biblically "self" control has it's emphasis on the Spirit- - Spirit led, Spirit directed, Spirit driven, Spirit focused, etc.. As we answer the invitation of the Spirit the small "self" of our lives, gives way, over time, to a "self" surrendered to Christ. This "self " in turn becomes connected to a large and beautiful "self" - the life of"self in Christ" (Colossians 3:3)
Simply speaking, the self controlled life is a life that is surrendered to God. That said, it is not so easy to do-- simple, yet not easy. It's not easy to surrender our desires, habits, and ways of thinking and of viewing the world. It is the work of a lifetime. Lucky for us God is not put off by our shortcomings and failures. He embodies all the characteristics/fruits He is inviting us to. Not only does He embody the fruits in Himself, but also in us- if we let Him. In fact, those very "shortcomings and failures" we have are what draws Him to us if we acknowledge our need of Him and surrender to His care (instead of self will, self effort, self direction, etc). Because He is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful and gentle, we can trust Him. Trust takes time and trust grows the more we surrender. The more we surrender the more we trust. And on and on the cycle goes.
A "self controlled" life, a life surrendered to God, is seen and known by others. It is seen and known by its fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness. The fruit is not forced it simply grows as we surrender day by day, moment by moment, and God does for us what we could not do for ourselves.
By Babs May-Clark