Summary: I’ve chosen the strawberry to represent self-control, because it is one fruit that I find very difficult to control myself in eating.
THE STRAWBERRY OF SELF-CONTROL
Review: The ORANGE OF FAITHFULNESS - "The Christ-like quality of dependability: stability in our relationship with God, reliability in our relationship with others."
The MANGO OF MEEKNESS - "The Christ-like quality of servanthood: humility in our relationship with God and mildness in our relationship with others."
The STRAWBERRY OF SELF-CONTROL -
(The UPWARD Fruit)
KJV - "temperance"
I’ve chosen the strawberry to represent self-control, because it is one fruit that I find very difficult to control myself in eating. If I bring home a pint, or even a quart, of strawberries; it is virtually impossible for me to eat a couple a day - usually that quart will be gone by the next morning! I’m sure that all of us have areas of our lives in which it is very hard to "control ourselves." About 11 months out of the year, good strawberries are hard to find, and very expensive! Self-control, the final Fruit of the Spirit, is one of the hardest to come by and will cost us the most to cultivate. But it’s worth it - because it pleases the heart of God and glorifies Him!
So, what is self-control? How is it expressed? And how can we develop greater self-control?
I. WHAT IS SELF-CONTROL?
The closest Hebrew word is TUSHIYYA,
which is translated, "discretion."
Ex. Prov. 3:21-23 "My son, let them not depart from your eyes-- Keep sound wisdom and discretion; So they will be life to your soul And grace to your neck. Then you will walk safely in your way, And your foot will not stumble."
The Greek word is EGKRATES, which means "self-restrained, disciplined, as an athlete in training."
And that is the very example Paul uses in
1 Cor. 9:24-27 "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is self-controled in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified."
Notice several truths that Paul brings out about a SELF-CONTROLED LIFE:
. A self-controlled life:
1. Has positive goals
2. Involves discipline
3. Includes every part of a person: body, mind,
emotions and will
4. Requires exercise
5. Means total submission to the coach and his
By these five principles, we can check our own "self-control level:"
-1. Do we have spiritual goals and
godly priorities, and are we planning to achieve these goals and objectives one step at a time?
-2. Do we discipline ourselves to do the
things we know God wants us to do and not to do the things God has forbidden?
-3. Do we seek to control every part of
our lives? Our bodies? Our minds and imaginations? Our emotions? Our wills?
-4. Do we keep up with our daily spiritual exercises - reading God’s words, praying, witnessing, praising and worshipping God, fellowshipping with other believers, etc.?
-5. Do we daily submit to the control of Christ and His Spirit - following the rules He has laid out for us in His rule book, the Bible?
Def: SELF-CONTROL is "Living a well-disciplined life - under the controlling influence of God the Spirit."
II. HOW IS SELF-CONTROL EXPRESSED?
A. Control of our bodies:
Moderation is the key - avoiding extremes,living a
well-balanced physical life. This would include: eating, drinking,exercise, work, etc.
The Bible warns throughout about
over-eating, over-drinking, over-exercising, over-working, over-doing any good thing! For instance:
1 Cor. 10:31 "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
(Personal commitment - bodily exercise does profit a little!)
B. Control of Our Tongues:
James 3:7, 8 "Every kind of beast has been tamed by man, but the tongue can no man control, it is an uncontrolled evil."
There are four main "sins of speech"
"Therefore, putting away lying, ’Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another."
2. FOUL LANGUAGE
"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers"
3. INSULTING OR ABUSIVE LANGUAGE
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city."
4. SLANDER (gossip, character assassination, etc.)
"Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, And whoever spreads slander is a fool."
The discipline of the tongue can be accomplished by following three Biblical principles: