For the Spirit God gave us gives us power—YES!—and love—YES!—and self-discipline—um, say what now?
Self-discipline or self-control is the Fruit of the Spirit I like to skim over. Love, joy, peace… I park it here and enjoy. Pour it on, Lord, these sound good. Forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness… I like these too, although it’ll take some work to exhibit them consistently. It’s not easy to always be kind and good and patient. I’ll need help, Lord. Self-control… I’m not a fan of this one. It sounds like work. It’s all on me: self-control, control of myself.
Or is it?
Wait, let me read those verses again. God has given us a Spirit of self-discipline. The Fruit of the Spirit is what the Holy Spirit produces in me. So it’s not all on me. I ask God to help me be patient and kind and loving, so why should self-control be any different?
God wants me to control my body. Self-discipline helps me say no to sin when I want to do what I know is wrong. Self-discipline helps me make time each day to pray and read the Bible when a thousand other ways to spend my time seem more urgent. And self-discipline helps me do what I need to do to get healthy.
Some days I’m focused on my goal and feel motivated to eat right, sleep long, and exercise. Other days I feel like doing anything else. Can’t I start tomorrow? Like a child I whine “do I have to? Can’t I start tomorrow?” I forget that I have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside me, ready to help me. So I pray.
I pray that the Holy Spirit, the same one God says gives us power and love, will help me be self-disciplined. I pray Lord, help me do what I need to do today to get healthy. Some days I pray Lord, help me want to do what I need to do today to get healthy, because I really want to jump off this wagon and bury my face in fudge.
Self-control is a beautiful thing, not a burden. I don’t want to be a slave to my flesh, so I need to take control of it so my flesh serves me and not vice versa. I have plans for my flesh and those plans include feeling comfortable in my own skin, feeling shameless in my tankini and swim shorts, and being mentally and physically active into my 90’s.
I’m not alone and it’s not all on me. The Holy Spirit gives me power, love, and self-discipline. Thank the Lord for all of the Fruits of the Spirit.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
Images courtesy of: Pinterest (fruit tree), Verseoftheday.com (rock wall)