Devotional 4/6/2020- Self-Control

I believe that we are on our last fruit of the Spirit.  And self-control is probably one that many of us would just prefer to overlook. I always think of self-control as the controlling of emotions (particularly negative ones) or our own desires in situations that tend to be hard. What makes self-control so very hard is that that covers so much. 

I am a stress eater.  When I am stressed (aka alot), I eat my emotions.  I love sweets and chips with salsa.  I also indulge much more in soda.  Now logically, I know that none of that is good for me, yet I chump it down like I am in some kind of eating competition. 

I am also a stress complainer.  I need to 'vent' alot more when I am stressed than other times.  Now yes, we all need to blow off steam.  But there is a time, a place, and a way for all of that.  And my stress complaining tends to come out like a downpour of hail. 

I also in the past have worked through issues of road rage- though mild compared to many.  No I was not chasing people down or making rude gestures.  But I was letting it still my good mood and stewing on it much longer than actually necesary.  

Bet you guys did not know that time apart would let you find out so much about me?  

But my point is that as different as all of these are they are all a lack of self-control.  Self-control is not about one aspect of our lives but almost all aspects.  Phrases like 'you just made me so mad that I did or said this' or thoughts like there is really no harm in whatever even when we know it is not good, are actually times of lack of self-control.  The truth is that your emotions are your own and they are your responsibility- aka no one is at fault if you allow yourself to get mad and act poorly. The truth is that even if something has no immediate harm if it hurts us in the long run, then we should contain it- aka my stress soda drinking and candy eating will result in my being a diabetic if I do not stop. 

Now it is not that any of these things are bad in the right occasions- eating fun food is enjoyable, and venting to a friend helps us be healthy and even anger has a time and place.  But it is when we do not control these, when we allow them to run us or when we rationalize what is not rational that we are failing self-control. 

Right now self-control comes in some weird forms  Self-control is staying away from stores when you can.  Self-control is maintaining appropriate distances. Self-control is focusing on the good of the many rather than only yourself (note I said only- you should care for others AND yourself).  And self-control means attending to your spiritual life and relationship with God even though church is not occurring like normal and it is easier to just let that all slide. 

As much of a pain as self-control is, it does almost always impact our lives for the better.  All of the things I just mentioned will help lead to your physical and spiritual health in the long term.  As you have time today and later this week, I invite you to read through Genesis chapters 2-7.  Look at it through the lens of self-control (or more specifically the lack of it).  Look at what lack of self-control yields for people.  But also note God's response which is often mercy even while it is laced in consequences. 

The truth is I need more self-control in areas of my life and probably you do too.  And those areas might look different than they did a month ago.  So consider where you need to practice self-control and pray to God for the strength and courage to pursue the cultivating and growing of this fruit of the Spirit. 

With Love, 

Beth