What is self-control? According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary self-control is defined as “restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.” Biblically speaking, self-control is the Fruit of the Spirit that helps us stand against the temptation to give in to the flesh.
Recently, we have been on a quest to discover more about the fruit of self-control.
Earlier this month in our series, Kathryn J. Bain reminded us that temptations are everywhere. If we want to overcome them, we need to keep our focus on God. When we take our eyes off of God, we are more likely to sin.
My friend, and fellow blogger Jill M Hoven, and I joined together to study self-control. Jill shared this powerful truth with us: “It’s not by my own power that I gain self-control. It’s through His.” I was so encouraged to know that through Jesus we have the power to change our bad habits. It was a joy to partner with her this month.
God has been teaching me so much about self-control, but nothing has spoken louder to me than Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 1:7: “for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and self-control.”
Why did Paul write these words? Paul penned these words to his friend Timothy. He seems to know his friend would have difficult temptations to battle on the road ahead of him. Paul must have been preparing and encouraging Timothy to stand against those temptations. (also see 1 Tim. 1:18; 6:12)
Why the caution about fear?
Fear’s persuasive whisper tempts us to give in to the desires of the flesh. When we let fear control us, it beckons us to give up, shrink back, and retreat. It influences us to lash out irrationally towards others. And it causes us to make unwise decisions.
Fear’s persuasive whisper tempts us to give in to the desires of the flesh.—Tweet this!
Why the emphasis on love?
Love’s harmonious voice compels us to courageously follow God’s will. When we allow love to lead us, it inspires us to go across borders to share the gospel. It propels us to keep going, to fight the good fight, and step out in faith. And it encourages us to show compassion towards others.
Love’s harmonious voice compels us to courageously follow God’s will.—Tweet this!
Paul’s warning to not give in to fear tugs on my heart. Self-control doesn’t come easily for me—especially when it comes to my emotions. When an emotional storm starts brewing within me, fear is usually the catalyst. Normally all it takes is one fearful thought to form in my mind and I lose control. But I’m learning that I don’t have to let my emotions control me.
Paul’s words remind us that through Christ we have the power to choose how we react to our emotions. We don’t have to give up. We don’t have to give in. We don’t have to allow our emotions, impulses, or sinful desires to push us around. Because of the love of our savior, Jesus, we have all the power we need to overcome the temptations we face.
Thank you for joining us for Part 1 in our series Sweet Smelling Fruit; Cultivating a Heart that Lives by the Spirit. Is this your first time here? Subscribe to my weekly newsletter to receive updates on future posts.
Be sure to stop by these awesome blogs I am linking up with this week for more encouragement: Click here.