Summary: Everybody struggles with self-control. We all wish we had more of it.
Love is the first flavor of the fruit of the Spirit and today we come to the last, self-control. I think these two virtues are placed first and last because love is the primary fruit and drives the rest, and self-control is the virtue that holds them all together.
Our scripture says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
The fruit of the Spirit is so important that when we were building this Worship Center about twelve years ago, I suggested to the Building Committee that we name each of the doors entering the worship area after a fruit of the Spirit. So, if you’ve ever taken the time to glance up at the lentil of the door you just walked in, one of the fruit of Spirit was listed there.
So I hope every time you walk in one of these doors you’ll think about how Jesus wants to display that fruit in you. Maybe you should choose which door you walk in based upon where you need the most help. And as you walk out, glance behind to remind yourself that Jesus can empower you to live with that virtue in your life. And if you have trouble with the traffic in our parking lots, why don’t you make sure you walk in the door labeled patience, and then walk out the door labeled self-control?
Some people have a reputation of being control-freaks. They want to control everything in life except themselves. But there are many things in life you can’t control. For instance, you can’t control the weather. When someone says, “Pastor we’re having an outside event will you ask the Lord for good weather that day?” I always say, “Sorry, but I’m in sales, not management!”
And even though you may try, you can’t control other people. A bride-to-be was so nervous; she didn’t think she could make it down the aisle. Her maid of honor said, “Just look down at the aisle and walk. Then look up at the altar where the preacher is standing, and then look at your groom.” So she decided to remember those three things. As she walked down the aisle she was even saying those words in a quiet voice. Those close enough could hear her saying, “Aisle, altar, him. Aisle, altar, him.” As much as we try to alter and control our spouses and our children, we can’t. But with the power of the Holy Spirit you can exercise control over the person who gives you the most trouble: You. I saw a sign recently with quote from Teddy Roosevelt that made me laugh. It said: “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”
So before we go any further, please raise your right hand and repeat after me. “With God’s help …I will stop trying…to control other people…and control things…over which I have no control.” Good. Now you’re ready to learn about the most important kind of control: Self-control. Let’s start by answering an important question: