Summary: Self control brings balance to our lives.
Last Sunday I asked you to be ready to share ways that we demonstrate the Fruits of the Spirit as a church. That will take place in a few minutes, as we first need to address the final fruit - self-control.
There have been a few “experiments” if you will during this series as a way to try to illustrate some of these fruits. This morning I want to use a bicycle to demonstrate/illustrate self-control. (Video clip)
As I reviewed this clip after I made it, I recalled this past July 4th. Daniel still had training wheels on his bike but Jonathon noticed that they were not touching the ground like they used to and basically said to Daniel, “Daniel I think that you can ride without training wheels. Try riding my bike. (Now the new red one in the video, the old one that he has outgrown.)
And wouldn’t you know it, Daniel took off like he had been riding without wheels for a while. I thought about the balance issue that has to take place as we learn to ride. Momentum helps us balance.
I suggest this morning that we consider self-control as the balancing fruit because it brings balance and control to our lives and also because it requires us to have balance and control in our lives, specifically the balance and control that comes as we let the Holy Spirit operate and direct our lives as we let go and surrender to God and His purposes for us.
I would also suggest that self-control is a greater possibility in our lives as we allow these other fruits to take root and grow as well. By doing so, they make possible the ability and the willingness to live a self-controlled life in the Spirit.
Two places of scripture are our Biblical guides as we consider this fruit called self-control. One, as always, has been read this morning - it is I Corinthians 6:12 and its parallel passage, I Corinthians 10:23 which basically says the same thing. I also want us to keep in mind the stories of Joseph and Daniel who are 21st century examples of self-control and who illustrate the balance and control of the Corinthian passages.
Before we examine these passages however, I would like for us to look at the following list of persons and as I read through the list I want you to pick one, just one, category of person that you believe fit the criteria. Then I am going to ask for your response.
The criterion is this: Which category of people requires the most self-control? (Overhead 1)
A person on a diet
A recovering alcoholic
A person facing an unpleasant task with a tight deadline
An unmarried person
A person with a long list of chores on a warm, sunny, weekend day
A person who wants to break a bad habit
A child learning to play a musical instrument
A person with diabetes
A child in a candy store
Now we are going back through the list and I am going to ask for a show of hands (remember only one selection) as I read each category. Here we go. (Read back through the list)
When we think of self-control, there are two main areas of life that come to most people’s mind: sex and food. And it is very important and interesting to notice that the repeative verses of I Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23 appear in the segments of the book that deal with the issue of sexual purity and eating. Scripture of course speaks about the control of our temper and of our tongue as well as living a life that demonstrates self-control that Joseph and Daniel illustrate.
In looking at 6:12 we must first go back to 6:10 where Paul asks, “Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God?” And then he goes on to list kinds of persons that will be left out of the kingdom.
He lists six kinds of people but expands on only one - “those who indulge in sexual sin” as he states it in the text. And he lists idol worshippers, adulterers, male prostitutes, and homosexuals as examples of sexual sin.
Corinth was a place of many pagan faiths that included sexual rituals as part of their worship. So Corinthian Christians came out of an environment that was very sexualized and it was a challenge to their commitment to and faith in Christ because that commitment and faith required sexual purity as Paul states in verse 11.
But, questions remain and attitudes and assumptions from their pagan pasts still influence their thinking. And verse 12 is an example of this thinking, (thinking that still exists today).
“Hey,” Paul hears, “I am allowed to do anything.” Notice that Paul does not deny this. We are allowed to do anything. We have the ability to kill and heal. We have the ability to love and hate. We have the ability to get involved and do nothing.