Truth, Transparency, Transformation
Volume IV, Spring 2018 Issue
The Fruit of Self-Control
by Laura Frohmader
The last fruit of the Spirit is self-control, which can be a difficult fruit to bear. My husband is blessed to be the king of moderation in all things. If there is some yummy snack lying around the house, Bob will only eat a reasonable amount. I, on the other hand, am not the queen of moderation. That snack would be gone in a matter of hours or even minutes. I do try to refrain from gluttony, though.
Food is not the only thing that requires self-control. I am thankful God protected me from the desire to share my private body parts with those who are not my spouse. It is a great blessing and a glue that strengthens a relationship when both spouses have never been intimate with anyone else.
I am also blessed to have a husband who is even-tempered. I have done many dumb things with our car and Bob has never gotten upset. He just deals with it and moves on. One day Bob watched me back up our daughter’s car. The plastic front bumper caught on something and tore off. When I got out of the car Bob mentioned what happened, then walked away. Thankfully we were able to shove the bumper back on and our daughter is none the wiser.
We have all met people who can’t control their temper and our desire is to get away from them. "A fool’s displeasure is known at once, but whoever ignores an insult is sensible." (Proverbs 12:16) I have not always been sensible in my behavior, but I’m glad God does miracles. I am much more calm now than I was several decades ago, so I hope that Proverbs 19:14 applies to me: “A house and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a sensible wife is from the Lord.” Otherwise I would be like a city whose wall is broken down: “A man who does not control his temper is like a city whose wall is broken down.” (Proverbs 25:28) Proverbs 16: 32 is also a good reminder: “Patience is better than power,
and controlling one’s temper, than capturing a city.”
Yes, God does miracles and helped me get control over my temper. Part of a bad temper involves saying things that should never be said. Our tongue is “a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8), and we are told in Psalm 34:13 “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceitful speech.” The book of Proverbs, of course, has something to say about our tongues. “The one who guards his mouth protects his life; the one who opens his lips invites his own ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3) “The one who guards his mouth and tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” (Proverbs 21:23) If we call ourselves Christians, the light of Christ should shine in our lives. That light is snuffed out when unbelievers see that we don’t “walk the walk.” James 1:26 warns us, “If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself.” What good is it to share Jesus with others if we turn around and act like the heathen?
God requires a mature faith if we are to be a leader in His church. “The reason I left you in Crete was to set right what was left undone and, as I directed you, to appoint elders in every town: one who is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of wildness or rebellion. For an overseer, as God’s administrator, must be blameless, not arrogant, not hot-tempered, not addicted to wine, not a bully, not greedy for money, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it.” (Titus 1:5-9). Nobody is perfect but we should strive for that maturity mentioned in James 3:2, “…for we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a mature man who is also able to control his whole body.”
Those of us who are striving for that maturity or have reached that level must always remember 1 Peter 5:8, “Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.” Another good warning comes from 2 Timothy 3:1-5, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
We want to share Jesus with the lost yet we must keep a reasonable distance from them so we are not ensnared by their sinful ways. “The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13:20) “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17). Let us go out and sharpen others as well as be sharpened by the spiritually mature – those who bear the fruit of self-control.
May this article bless you and the Holy Spirit speak to you of His Truth.
All Bible quotes are from the Holmen Christian Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.
© 2017 Laura Frohmader
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