The other evening, I overheard Nathan talking with our six year old about ‘self-control’.
Nathan said to Emily: “Have you heard about the fruit of the Spirit?”
Emily replied: “Oh yeah, I know all about that…I think one of them’s a coconut!”
Well, as you can imagine, there wasn’t much self control after this comment – we just errupted into laughter! Kids! Don’t you just love them?!
But i’ve found myself thinking about self control ever since. I hope you don’t mind me sharing a few thoughts…
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls!Proverbs 25:28
Wow! Isn’t this such a powerful and accurate image? I can so relate to this…When I first got married and had kids, I’m sorry to say, I discovered I had a bit of a temper. Maybe it’s the red hair, or something, I dunno? Or maybe it was the stress of having twins first time round? But anyway…it wasn’t good!
Here’s a typical scene that might have played out:
The kids would wake up at the crack of dawn. I’d be cranky and tired after being kept up in the night. One of them would spill their breakfast. Milk would literally be dripping off the table. Then me and Nathan would have a cross word about something or other as he was going out the door to work. I’d decide to bake a cake to cheer myself up. I’d open the fridge door and realise we were out of eggs. I’d load the kids into the double buggy, and set off down the road to the shops. Whilst shopping, one of the twins would start screaming because they wanted some sweets or a magazine. The buggy would keep tipping up. I’d plod home feeling more and more wound up. I’d unload the shopping and place it on the kitchen table. Then the phone would ring. It would be an annoying sales call. I’d walk back into the kitchen to discover that one of the kids had cracked every single egg I’d just bought, and I now had a sloppy, gloopy mess all over the floor. And to top it all off, I’d now have to go back to the shops.
And then something inside me would just snap!
I’d fly off the handle, yelling at the kids only to feel hopelessly, despairingly guilty about it afterwards. I’d berate myself mercilessly and vow I’d never shout at the kids again – only to do it again a few days later. It was like a terrible cycle. I felt powerless and unable to change.
Like a city broken into and left without walls…
I don’t know if youve ever heard of Colin Buchanan, the Australian Kids worship guy? Well, he’s just fantastic! He’s written a song called ‘A Whole Lotta Self Control’. The words are great:
The Good News!
I am so pleased to say that things began to change in me, when I regularly began to cry out to God for help!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and SELF CONTROL!Galatians 5:22
Self control is NOT produced by human effort…it’s not a work of SELF, as it’s name might suggest, it’s a work of the Spirit!
Friends, this is such amazing news! I don’t have to try and conjur up self control without the Holy Spirit’s help. I don’t have to grit my teeth, or beat myself up in order to produce it. The law renders me powerless. My flesh is just flesh. I can’t produce any Spiritual Fruit without the Holy Spirit.
Grapes, or tomatoes, or apples or peaches – they don’t struggle to appear, do they? Fruit comes as a result of the tree being rooted in good soil. The sun shines, the rains come…and pop! One day the fruit just appears.
I am the Vine and you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do NOTHING.John 15:5
My job, is just to abide….to remain attached and connected to Jesus, the Vine. My job is to keep in step with the Spirit. How? By asking for help. By leaning in close to my ALL SUFFICIENT SAVIOUR. By asking Him to fill me and give me all I need to face the day. By coming daily to the throne of grace, for mercy and help in my time of need.
This is how we overcome!