The Gift of Self-control

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

EL pen Logo with heartCan you believe it; half of the first month of 2015 … gone! Whew, hurry and grab your coffee and let’s finish this shopping spree so we can get to our January WOW, before it’s gone! Oh, and don’t forget your Red Strand of Faith!

Have you ever seen a gift inside of a gift, and when you un-wrapped the second one, there was still another one inside of that? Well, imagine that in the reverse order; instead of the gifts getting smaller in size, they get a bit larger! That is how it is with this final gift in our shopping spree: self-control … which houses all the other gifts. It’s like the shell on a turtle, protecting its body, or the drywall over the wood protecting the frame. In other words, self-control protects all these other gifts we’ve shopped for and opened.

The word for self-control is translated in the Hebrew and Greek as “temperance,” and again, I find it incredibly interesting that this is the last in the order of these gifts on our shopping spree, aka, the gifts/fruits of the Spirit. [Galatians 5:22-23] It’s through exploring this final gift that we will hopefully come to an understanding of the Spirit’s role in our lives.

So I was wondering why self-control was changed or translated to temperance and here’s what I found: The various gifts given by God to us are capable of abuse. Ouch! Really? Let’s keep going.

“The right use of temperance/self-control requires the controlling power of the will under the operation of the Spirit of God.” Bingo!

In other words, we either run into our self or out of our self when away from the Spirit, the Giver of all of these gifts. It’s impossible to maintain self-control/temperance without partnering with the Spirit and it’s a choice. When we go into partnership with someone, usually we sign a contract, sign on the dotted line. Jesus signed the contract for us … with His blood! He just asks us to make a decision with our minds to let Him into our hearts and acknowledge His existence in all things. There’s no need for lawyers, judges or witnesses!

Here’s something else interesting I found in the Hebrew and Greek Concordance. “Temperance/self-control as a noun is our response to His Spirit.”

So how can that be, that in order to have the right amount of self-control or temperance, we have to be under the control of the Spirit but then it’s also our response to His Spirit? Whew, that’s about as clear as mud so let’s see if this other explanation clears the confusion a bit more:

“Self-control/temperance suggests that what is learned must be put into practice.”

Ahh, so it’s not enough to say the Spirit is within me; I must prove it with my actions. His Spirit within me speaks the loudest in and through my actions because what I learn through the gift and grace of His Spirit within me I must demonstrate.

In other words, in the classroom of life, I am the chalkboard with life’s practiced lessons visible for all other students to view.

In order to maintain this gift of self-control, I’ve come to know that it takes vigilance, seeking after Him continually.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Whenever I try to do something in my own strength, there is striving and it’s like an energy leak that zaps me and soon there is nothing left.  But when He’s leading, and I’m just showing up, wow, what a difference.

Just the other day, I got an email from a friend of mine that I haven’t seen for a couple of years. She had something extremely heavy on her heart and she needed someone to talk to. We set a time, and she asked that it be at my house because she just knew she was going to fall apart and didn’t want to do that in public. So two days later, she came. I listened as she shared her stuff, and one of the things she kept saying was that she was done. She was done in her marriage, done with people who had wounded her; done trying to be the perfect mom for all three of her kids, especially since she discovered some devastating news about her oldest child and she is in for the battle of her life, the biggest trial of her marriage and she has no fight left in her; she was exhausted.

My sweet friend hasn’t been in fellowship for several years, and even though she talks to God, and she believes, she hasn’t been in relationship with Him, truly showing up every day for her fruit, so the fruits have grown stale within her from exposure to life because her wall that protects all that fruit, her self-control, was gone! She had run out of herself and into herself.

Every day we are given opportunities to exert self-control/temperance, whether it is on the freeway when someone cuts us off, in the midst of a disagreement with the ones we love, a child pushing our last button, or a friend in time of need. The opportunities are countless to give the gift of temperance/self-control. The more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes

So let me ask you, why do you do what you do? Are you in need of any of these gifts? See in order to give the gifts of the Spirit, these gifts we’re calling the gifts of the season, you have to possess them first.

Do you know the giver of the gifts? Which one would you reach for first?

That’s a wrap! Join me tomorrow for our first WOW of 2015!

In the gift of His love,

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