"But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control; against such things, there is no law." -Galatians 5:22-23 Of all the fruit of the Spirit, this seems the most backward, doesn't it? What I mean is, if attaining the fruit of the Spirit comes by surrender, what does it mean by "SELF-CONTROL?" Quite simply, and yet not so much, Paul is implying that as we surrender to the Spirit, and He yields His fruit in us, we will be disciplined. Our world today is in chaos. It seems we're living in the Old Testament, everyone is doing what is right in his or her own eyes, and not listening to the voice of the Lord. Truth be told, though, there is nothing new under the sun. This existed before the flood, After Noah, with Jacob's kids, in Israel after Joshua died, and over and again in the time of the kings. When Jesus came on to the scene, they were even practicing a man-made version of God's holiness in the extra-scriptural laws and traditions they created to follow God's law. When Christianity spread to Rome, it was even worse, because, outside of Israel, everyone had a version of what they thought best. Yet, in the middle of all of this Chaos, from beginning to now, God has always had a remnant who has represented Him. How? They Seek God and His kingdom above themselves. They take Jesus seriously when He says “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Self-control is about self-denial. As with the other fruit of the Spirit, this is not our natural state. We're about indulging (hence the riots, the hate speech, the violence against one another, need I go on?), and so we take what we want, and decry others when they have something we want and can't have. Self-control means that I stay focused, not on the externals, not on the perishing things in this world, but I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. This is a DAILY, sometimes second by second, process. I seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. I don't seek after myself. When I stay focused on God, my anxiety and depression, my cares plummet. When I focus on me, and the world around me, I get anxious, worried, distressed. Self-control is about keeping an eternal perspective in light of the chaos around me. I can only do that as I submit and surrender to my God, who is more than capable of handling the situations around me. Do you feel like your life is out of control? Do you feel like Chaos is winning? Surrender to Jesus, trust Him completely, and surround yourself with others on the same journey. Watch as the Lord builds you up, daily, as you cling and cleave to Him.
Matthew 6:25-34 English Standard Version (ESV)
Do Not Be Anxious
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:27 Or a single cubit to his stature; a cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters