(This entry has been simmering for over a month and has changed forms a few times. I think it’s time to bring it off the stove. It does not look as I thought it would.)
Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.
A lot has been happening behind the scenes here at “Bearing Fruit”.
With regards to “self-control”, I did some research to understand where this exact word was used in the Bible. (I referenced this website here). There are not many places (only 4) this word appears. Little context to enlighten me on the topic.
I also spent time pondering the control of God.
My view is that God created the universe in a cosmos-sized act of love.
My view is that God, a community to three, is potent enough to create an infinite universe. So God must be omnipotent enough to control all aspects of said universe.
My view is that God chose humans to uniquely have a very, very, very complex brain which can imagine, create, self-destruct, love, hate, envy, empathize, develop belief systems and so much more.
My view does not deny evolution. My view says God created evolution.
And here is where it gets interesting and complicated….my view says that God chose to give give up control. God can control all things, yet God gave varying levels of self-control to God’s Creation.
(Side note: I started to go down a long avenue which is not where I was headed. This avenue led me to read this article which is interesting.)
As I ponder the fruit of the spirit I keep wondering why I can’t make better use of one of the grandest gifts God offered us… self-control.
Behind the scenes back in November I utterly lost my self-control and ended up in a situation where I had NO control over my life for 72 hours.
In simple terms (perhaps too simple) God gave me the ability to make my own choices. I sometimes make bad choices. I sometimes make good choices. The goal is to have self-control over my choices so that I make more good than bad choices.
Sometimes I wish God had NOT given me choices. I hate making so many bad ones.
As I was driving last week I pondered further why I used the word “view” in the top portion of the entry. “View” implies that I make a choice to explain things in a certain way.
I pondered, what is faith versus view. Faith is a gift from God – theologians debate this (*). Faith is something that I believe in all parts of my being – body, mind, soul. Faith isn’t something I can deny or debate or defend, nor do I need to.
I have faith that God loves me.
I have faith that God loves all this creation.
I have faith God will redeem all of creation.
I have faith that Jesus shows us the power structure of the world is upside down. The weak really are the strong. The poor really are the rich.
I have faith that same sex love between two people in a life commitment is not a sin.
I have faith that all things and people work for some purpose.
One day we will look back upon what seems like a jumbled mess to see a mosaic tapestry of intricately woven threads that complete a beautiful artwork.
I have faith that Love is infinite and abundant and at hand all the time.
Having THIS faith is not easy. I am most often at odds with people when I stand up for my faith. As much as I would have preferred to deny some parts of my faith at various crossroads of my life, I can’t. It is inexplicable and undeniable.
I was discussing Fruit of the Spirit with the third wise man. He said,
“Fruit of the Spirit is not for us to want to brag about or take credit or give credit to anyone for. It’s Fruit OF THE SPIRIT for a reason. It’s not of us. So if or when we show it we can ONLY be thankful for it.”
Well…this is enough writing for now…..I’m not quite done with “Self-control.”
(*)Apparently, as I researched this entry, there is debate about “Faith is a gift from God”. I’m not sure, having done some reading where I stand on the debate over Ephesians 2:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
I landed on an article by John McArthur. I don’t appreciate Mr. McArthur’s judgement on many issues, but found his writing on this scripture helpful:
The story is told of a man who came eagerly but very late to a revival meeting and found the workmen tearing down the tent in which the meetings had been held. Frantic at missing the evangelist, he decided to ask one of the workers what he could do to be saved. The workman, who was a Christian, replied, “You can’t do anything. It’s too late.” Horrified, the man said, “What do you mean? How can it be too late?” “The work has already been accomplished,” he was told. “There is nothing you need to do but believe it.”
Every person lives by faith. When we open a can of food or drink a glass of water we trust that it is not contaminated. When we go across a bridge we trust it to support us. When we put our money in the bank we trust it will be safe. Life is a constant series of acts of faith. No human being, no matter how skeptical and self–reliant, could live a day without exercising faith.
Church membership, baptism, confirmation, giving to charity, and being a good neighbor have no power to bring salvation. Nor does taking Communion, keeping the Ten Commandments, or living by the Sermon on the Mount. The only thing a person can do that will have any part in salvation is to exercise faith in what Jesus Christ has done for him.
When we accept the finished work of Christ on our behalf, we act by the faith supplied by God’s grace. That is the supreme act of human faith, the act which, though it is ours, is primarily God’s—His gift to us out of His grace. When a person chokes or drowns and stops breathing, there is nothing he can do. If he ever breathes again it will be because someone else starts him breathing. A person who is spiritually dead cannot even make a decision of faith unless God first breathes into him the breath of spiritual life. Faith is simply breathing the breath that God’s grace supplies. Yet, the paradox is that we must exercise it and bear the responsibility if we do not (cf. John 5:40).
Obviously, if it is true that salvation is all by God’s grace, it is therefore not as a result of works. Human effort has nothing to do with it (cf. Rom. 3:20; Gal. 2:16). And thus, no one should boast, as if he had any part. All boasting is eliminated in salvation (cf. Rom. 3:27; 4:5; 1 Cor. 1:31). Nevertheless, good works have an important place, as Paul is quick to affirm.