March 19, 2018

Deeply Rooted - Week 8:

Galatians 5:22-23

The final discipline in our study of Galatians 5:22-23 and what may be, in my opinion, one of the most difficult to master is self-control. Why is that? Just a quick look at the definition and we can see why. Merriam-Webster collegiate dictionary defines self-control as "restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires." If you have ever resolved to change an undesired trait or to develop a new trait for the betterment of your life, then you also know that realizing those types of changes aren’t easy. Many times they involve battling directly against our own hurts, habits, or hangups. Paul gives a good description of this battle when he states, "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate”(Romans 7:15, ESV). This is what makes having “restraint to control one’s impulses, emotions, or desires” so difficult. We want to change them, but we always seem to find ourselves going back to them.

Now, before you get discouraged, let’s remind ourselves of a couple of Gospel truths. "The phrase ‘fruit of the Spirit’ in this context refers not to ‘spiritual fruit,’ but to ‘fruit that the Spirit produces’” (Galatians 5:22, Faithlife Study Bible). Follow Christ, be obedient to his leading, and the Spirit will actively produce within us the ability to love, be joyful, have peace, show kindness, produce goodness, have faithfulness, extend gentleness, and show self-control. Second, don’t just expect to click your heals and then see you have been transformed. That would be nice; however, 2 Peter 1:5-7 reminds us to “...make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love” (ESV). What habit, hang-up, or trait are you trying to overcome? Today, lay that at the feet of Christ and trust him with everything.