Self control has always seemed kind of like an odd “add-in” to the fruits of the Spirit for me. The other fruits make me reflect a little bit more and think about ways that I am or am not living out those things. But I would say we all have a pretty good idea of what it means to have self control. It means doing the things in our life that we know are good and right, and avoiding the things that are bad and wrong. While this is definitely true, I think a lot of times we miss what God’s heart really is behind what he is saying when he tells us to have self control.
Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self control. [Proverbs 25:28]
In this Proverb, the comparison of someone who doesn’t have self control is like a city who has no walls to defend itself. Thousands of years ago if your city wasn’t protected by walls and gates, you might as well have sent a letter to your enemies saying “Free Land, Come and Get It.”
I think we do the same with ourselves a lot of time. We pray and ask and try to change things in our lives, but wonder why we don’t see any progress, when we are actually just like that city without a wall. We don’t have self control to say yes to the things God has for us and no to the things of the world. When we don’t have self control, we open a door in our lives to let the enemy and the world have the first say. So what does self control look like practically?
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. [2 Corinthians 10:5]
One of the best ways to develop self control is by beginning with your mind. Your mind is the place where you get to choose what you dwell on. In some instances you can’t control what pops into your mind, but you can choose what to do with it. Self control is a lot about what we DO with our actions, but also has a lot to do with what we THINK. If you are able to control your mind, you will begin to see fruit in lots of other areas outside of your thoughts.
Taking thoughts captive is one of the main ways that God is going to grow self control in you.
Think back on the other fruits of the Spirit. Scroll down and give the other posts a glance if you haven't read them already, and ask yourself which of those fruits do you most desire to see in your life. Whichever one sticks out to you the most, ask God to show you ways that you might not do that in your everyday life. Reflect about the ways that your thoughts might not naturally push you to grow in those fruits. To end, ask God to help you control your thoughts more and love him with the things you dwell on.
God, thank You for being a God who calls me higher. Thank you for giving me the ability to live a life that honors You. And thank You for giving me Your Spirit so that I don’t have to do this alone. Lord, I just pray that You will deposit more self control within me so that I am better able to live a life that gives glory to You. I love You!! Amen.