“No conflict is so severe as his who labors to subdue himself; but in this we must be continually engaged, if we would be strengthened in the inner man, and make real progress toward [Christlikeness].” So said Thomas à Kempis in his famous book on the Christian life, The Imitation of Christ. And Kempis is right. Self-control is one of the hardest of fight, one of the most difficult battles all Christian face, because we fight against an enemy that is powerful and has a hold deeply upon us.
However, sin is a defeatable enemy and, for the Christian, self-control is a necessary battle in the fight against our own sin (Prov 25:28; Gal 5:22-23).… Continue reading
Before the holiday season (Thanksgiving and Christmas), I began a series of blogs concerning self-control. Once the holidays hit, I was doing what was necessary to keep my head afloat with ministry (discipleship and shepherding) and family (my father-in-law found out he had cancer in his jaw and we spent much of December with him in the hospital, post-surgery). All of this has now died down to a normal roar and I can now finish this self-control series. Thank you for your patience.
Let me summarize what we have seen: in the first post we looked at self-control’s definition. Without a proper definition, we cannot know if what we are doing or pursuing is God’s design.… Continue reading
Last time I wrote, we began to look at that oh so lost Fruit of the Spirit, self-control. Because it sits at the end of the list in Galatians 5. I think we (including myself) thing of this list as a hierarchy, where love the most important fruit of the Spirit, followed by joy, peace, etc., leaving self-control as the last and therefore least important. But this list Paul gives us in Gal 5 is not a list of fruits (plural), but one fruit that the Spirit works in each of us. There is no hierarchy here, but a list of what describes a person who is walking by the Spirit.… Continue reading
Of all the Bible verses we Christians have memorized, near the top is probably Galatians 5:22-23 — the Fruit of the Spirit. If you are like me, the reason you know these verse so well is because when you were at camp, you sang a silly song that went like this: “The fruit of the spirit’s not a coconut” (tap your head while making a hollow sound with your mouth to imitate the sound of coconut). “The fruit of the spirit’s not a coconut” (sound again). “If you wanna be a coconut, you might as well hear it, you can’t be a fruit of the spirit.… Continue reading