Summary: This is a sermon on self-control. It is one of the fruits of the Spirit. 1. Admit You Have A PROBLEM 2. Put The Past BEHIND You 3. Master Your EMOTIONS 4. Believe You Can CHANGE 5. Avoid TEMPTATION 6. Depend On Christ’s POWER
Fruit of the Spirit – Self-Control
How to Gain More Self-Control
Today we finish up the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit. We are looking at self-control. Next week we will deal with the phrase – “against such things there is no law.” Let’s go ahead and read our focal verses at this point. Galatians 5:22-23 says:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Gal 5:22-23 (NASB)
Many of your problems and mine are caused by a lack of self-control. We ask questions like: Why can’t I lose weight? Why can’t I keep the house clean? Why can’t I get more done? Why can’t I break that bad habit? Why can’t I get out of debt? I can’t do these things because I lack self-control. My biggest problem is me!
Perhaps you feel that your life is out of control – and maybe it is. You feel overwhelmed by your situation and circumstance. That is a scary feeling. Proverbs 25:28 says:
“Like a city that is broken into and without walls Is a man who has no control over his spirit.” Pro 25:28 (NASB)
Self-control and self-discipline are key factors in success in this life. Without self-discipline or self-control – you are unlikely to achieve anything of lasting value. The apostle Paul compared life to competing in sports. He said:
“Every man who takes part in the sports has self-control in all things. Now they do it to get a crown which is of this world, but we for an eternal crown.” 1 Co 9:25 (BBE)
Another way to say it is – “No pain, no gain”. Every fitness trainer will tell you that it takes self-discipline and self-control to be a winner. Olympic athletes train for years to have a chance to win a brief moment of glory. But the race we are running is far more important than any earthly athletic event. Self-control is not optional for Christians.
Folks here is a fact: there is no “quick and easy” way to self-control. It is a process that takes years to master. But let me suggest six steps to self-control.
1. Admit You Have A PROBLEM
The first step in developing self-control is to admit you have a problem. Your problem is – your lack of self-control. Admit your problem. James 1:13-14 says:
“Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” Jas 1:13-14 (NASB)
These verses tell me that the biggest problem I have – is me. I do the things I do – because I like to do it. When I do something I know is bad for me – many times I still do it because I like to do it. I want to do it. It’s an inner desire.
But the bad thing is – we often try to ignore or deny we have a problem. “Me – what problem? I don’t have a problem.” Or we often rationalize – “It’s just the way I am.” Or we might say, “Everybody else is doing it.” But sometimes we blame others – “The devil made me do it.” We do not want to admit that we have a problem. We want to play the blame game. But playing the blame game does not fix the problem.
Have you ever read this verse? It says:
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” Gal 6:7 (NASB)
The starting point for developing self-control is to face the fact that a lot of our problems begin with ourselves. The first step to gaining more self-control is to admit that we have a problem – Lord I am out of control – grant me some self-control.
The second step is:
2. Put The Past BEHIND You
The second step in developing self-control – is put the past behind you. Paul says in Philippians 3:13-14:
“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Php 3:13-14 (NASB)
This passage exposes a misconception that will keep you from gaining self-control – once a failure, always a failure.
You may say, “Oh, I tried to quite my bad habits. In fact, I have tried fifteen times. I guess I will never be able to get control of this.” That is a misconception.
Folks here is a fact – failure in the past does not mean you will never be able to change.