Monday, December 7, 2009

Did Someone Say Self-Control?

There is something about this season that causes me to think about self-control. The food, the parties, the shopping. I find that I have a difficult time limiting myself, saying no to my fleshly desires. I am tempted this time of year to eat more, drink more, and spend more. I went to an awesome party this Saturday. But the next morning I was asking myself if perhaps I imbibed too much, or so I think the headache was telling me.

All of this brought to mind Galatians 5:13-25.

13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Life by the Spirit
16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

I read through that list in verse 19 and I cringe. It's not an easy list to compare my life to. And if I'm honest, I have a hard time with most of those things daily! And then the kicker is what a Spirit-filled life does look like: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. My days do not often showcase those characteristics, I'm sorry to say.

For myself, I read verses 19-25 and then I like to go back up to verses 13. Christ set us free from the law. We are free to love; not free to indulge sinful desires. I'm no where near good at this. But I wanted to share a honest thought with you. Among my other character deficiencies, it's difficult for me to admit shortcomings. I do this in hope that some may be encouraged.


chandy said...

Do you ever read the Vitamin Z blog? He recently finished up a series on his thoughts on a James MacDonald sermon on alcohol.

I thought it was very interesting, and you might enjoy it too.

You are certainly not alone, girl. I've had my share of mornings where I kick myself for abusing the freedoms I've been given through Christ. Thank God for new mercies!

Jessie said...

Thank you for posting that link, Chandra. I found the argument very interesting.

Obviously I agree with 'Z'. I believe that the goal is to live a self-controlled life. A life of moderation, rather than legalism. As it is said in that post, Christians tend to error towards legalism-I am no different I'll tell you that much.

In the meantime, I'll just try and figure out what moderation of food and drink look like for me. :)

The Maid said...

Hi, I'm the maid, and I have no self-control.


Now, if you come across a 12 step program we can all do together...I want to confess that I ate 8...YES EIGHT...oatmeal cookies yesterday.

I don't even really like those the best.


Don't even quote the verses about gluttony...I know. I know.

I love you guys...and I struggle with those very verses and reconciling my freedom in Christ as well.

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!!!"

Have a great week!
The Oatmeal Eating Maid

The Maid said...

Oh, I have also been grappling with this verse:

"All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable."

Yep...that about kills my 8 cookie eating self too.