Summary: From the most mature saint to the newest convert - we all need to grow in this fruit.
“The Fruit Everyone Needs – but No one Wants”
April 8, 2017
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
2 Peter 1: 3-9
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”
This morning I want to talk about a need that each one of us shares. From the youngest to the oldest; from the most mature to the very immature; from the new Christian to the old veteran saint – we all need more of this fruit in our lives. Some people’s lives are chaotic and out of control because of a lack of it. I would bet that each one of us in some area of our lives are experiencing pain and producing pain in others because of it. Have you figured out what that need is yet? It is the last fruit of the Spirit listed. It is self-control.
People are literally dying because of a lack of self-control. For some it is physical. A lack of control in your eating or exercise. A lack of control in destructive habits like drinking and drugs. A lack of self-control in what you think about resulting in depression and defeat. A lack of self-control with entertainment resulting in being unproductive and shallow. Some people suffer socially; they have no deep meaningful relationships because they spend all their time playing computer games, watching tv, reading novels or some other form of self-entertainment. Some lack control when it comes to the sensual and sexual things in life and they get addicted to porn and sex and sometimes even perversion. For some it is a lack of self-control in cleaning the house and picking up after yourself or just doing what you should be doing. They even have reality shows on ‘hording’. People can’t control themselves when it comes to possessions.
Many have a lack of self-control when it comes to talking. I have literally had to tell people in marriage counselling sessions to “just stop talking!” And they couldn’t do it. They would just go on saying hurtful things because they felt like it even though it was destroying them, their marriage and causing pain to their mate. They couldn’t control their words or need to say something even though it was anti-productive.
How about emotions? Can you control them? I remember when I couldn’t control my temper. As a correction officer I saw many people who lost control and beat up their wives or hit someone. Funny thing was how they could control their temper when the cops got there. Lots of people struggle to control anger.
Self-control. It’s the Spiritual fruit we all need more of and the one hardest to achieve. Why? Because God can’t do it for us. It’s SELF control. If we give God control of our lives, He will begin to direct our paths and empower us. He will help us to become more loving and kind and so on. But then we reach a place in our spiritual growth where God says, “Okay. Now it’s up to you. You have the power. Do you have the will? And often times we find we don’t have the will so we don’t have any power and God really isn’t in control like we thought. I suppose there are cases where we need medical help for something but I think more times than not we take a pill so we don’t have to struggle to control ourselves. We just numb ourselves. We avoid learning control.
In my life I can point back to a couple of books that have really made me who I am. Some of them are “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis; “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell; “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and then this one. “The Disciplined Life” by Richard S. Taylor.
I know what it is like to be out of control. At one time in my life (45+ years ago) I smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day, but I always knew when to stop drinking. I ran out of money or passed out. I didn’t control myself sexually, socially or emotionally. I was known to leap over tables to deck someone. I would explode and start fighting anyone, anytime, and anyplace. I was out of control and I suppose I would have been dead a long time ago, or maybe in jail, if Jesus hadn’t found me and saw something worth saving in my miserable hide. But He did. I came to Him one ugly, chaotic mess. And it wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t easy. The process of being transformed was a pretty painful process for me. But God, through His grace was able to do it. He was able to do a work in me and transform me in the Christian I am today. But He always demanded something of me. The first Scripture I memorized, I think, was Philippians 4:13. Remember it?