“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Self-control is such a taboo word in today’s culture. We would rather place the blame on some “disease”, “disorder”, or “phobia” than take the responsibility and make the change. We want “miracle” weight loss pills. We want drive-thru meals. We want fast service. We even want instant fame.
But we don’t want to have the self-control to do it.
Believe me, I know how hard of a thing self-control can be; I had an eating disorder-remember? I know how hard it is to resist the urge to satisfy the temptations. I know how hard it is to practice self-control when all you want to do is lose control. I know how hard it is to pick the “best” thing when all you want to do is pick the wrong thing.
Self-control may not be easy, but it is essential. And its roots go all the way back to the Garden.
I don’t imagine Eve had any more self-control than we do today. When the serpent tempted her with the apple, I imagine her mind went into “turmoil mode”. I don’t think her answer was automatic; she thought about her decision.
“Should I eat the fruit even though I am pretty sure God said not to eat it? Or is the serpent right? The fruit does look good… Maybe I’ll just take one bite. Surely one bite won’t hurt.”
Eve lost self-control. She let her mind wander and entertain the “what if’s”, and we are still reaping the consequences to this day.
Oh, if only we were only tempted with a piece of fruit! We’re not though. Almost everything around us is a temptation, and sometimes we have to take responsibility and practice self-control. Some of us have to say no to the fifth cookie. Some of us have to say no to the next hour at the gym. Some of us have to say no to the “Blow-out Sale”. Some of us have to say no to those things to allure us to bow down and worship them.
Self-control is not easy or fun. You may not see the benefit of it in the moment. But in the end, it is so much better.
Today is the day to practice it. Today is the day you say no to the overwhelming desire in order to say yes to obedience to the truth. Today is a day of beautiful freedom from the chains that have bound so many of us for so long.