Seeing Things New (Part 3)

Read: Galatians 5:22 and Proverbs 25:28

Here is the definition of this word that Paul uses that is listed last in the fruits of the Spirit: “egkrateia: mastery, self-control – proceeding out from within oneself, but not by oneself.  self-mastery, self-restraint, self-control, continence.”

You might remember last week how we continued to share how one of the best ways to understand the fruit of the Spirit is to understand that while the fruit is listed individually, in reality, each of these “fruits” are interconnected and mutually influential.

The fruits do not come from human character

But the most important truth that we need to observe and remember is that each of these characteristics do not have their source or origin in human character. These are the fruits of the Spirit of God, and while some of these “fruits” may be related to temperament, our own attempts to consistently manifest them will often fall short of what we intend. And the characteristic of “self-control” is an example of human limitations.

Self-control comes from the Holy Spirit

Now before we go much further, let me make it clear that I’m not suggesting that we avoid a disciplined life or beneficial habits or practices. I don’t think that Paul meant to suggest that “training or preparation” was to be ignored or shunned.

The major emphasis of the Greek word “egkratei" is the concept that “self-control” proceeds from within us, BUT is not humanly generated! And of course, this is where the faithful ministry of the Holy Spirit becomes such a source of Christ-like behavior or attitudes.

A verse from Proverbs

Now let’s examine this verse from Proverbs.

Proverbs 25:28, “Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.”

I’ll share some other translations to aid in our understanding.

The Amplified Version says “Like a city that is broken down and without walls [leaving it unprotected] Is a man who has no self-control over his spirit [and sets himself up for trouble].” And the Message paraphrase says “A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.”

Jesus is our perfect example

Jesus is a perfect example and model of “self-control.” Every emotion or reaction that Jesus exhibited in the Gospels as He dealt with all segments of society is the premier demonstration of this “fruit” of the Spirit.

So then, what is our solution for living lives that demonstrate all these fruits of the Spirit? The solution is two-part.

First, it is simply a consistent, continual, surrendering of our lives to the authority of the Spirit of God. And secondly, when we just don’t measure up, then we repent and cast ourselves upon the loving-kindness of our Father.

Blessings,
Pastor Gene

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