Chanukah Self Control
Self-control... the last fruit of the Spirit. If you think of progressing through emotions and actions, to be honest, I find this one the most challenging. People respond positively when we show love, or joy, or kindness. When we move to matters of the heart, people don’t often comment that we have shown great faithfulness or humility. Self-control is an action that we see outwardly, but when was the last time you heard someone comment, “that person showed great self-control!”
During the holiday season we often make mention of self-control when it is about food. There are sweets everywhere and we must have “self-control” to not eat them.
We teach our children to have self-control when it comes to their reactions. And yet, we ourselves don’t practice the idea. It is not easy to “bite my tongue” or “turn the other cheek.” I want to react to what is said about me, or to me. I want to defend myself and make sure that everyone knows who I am and what I stand for. It takes “self-control” to just let things be...
The definition of self-control is:
the ability to control oneself, in particular one's emotions and desires, especially in difficult situations.
When we are in a “difficult situation” and someone has upset us, God expects us to “control ourselves.” His desire is that we TRUST HIM to handle ALL situations.
A well known verse from 2 Timothy has a little different translation in the Complete Jewish Bible, but the same idea, self-control is given by God.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God gave us a Spirit who produces not timidity, but power, love and self-discipline.
2 Peter 1:5-7 is interesting...
For this very reason, try your hardest to furnish your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with perseverance, perseverance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
This verse is almost backward from the fruits of the Spirit. Faith, goodness, knowledge (instead of humility), self-control, perseverance (patience), godliness, brotherly affection (kindness), and LOVE. These words are almost identical to the fruits we have been studying.
These words were written to BELIEVERS. These people were finding it difficult to “run the race” and Peter wrote to them to ENCOURAGE them. As we read chapter 1 verses 9 and 10 it says:
Indeed, whoever lacks them is blind, so shortsighted that he forgets that his past sins have been washed away. Therefore, brothers, try even harder to make your being called and chosen a certainty. For if you keep doing this, you will never stumble.
And then verse 12 says:
For this reason, I will always remind you about these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you already have.
Peter felt led to KEEP REMINDING them.
So often we think, “I know the fruits of the Spirit. It gets old and repetitive to read them again and again.” This chapter from 2 Peter should make it clear that we are NEVER beyond the realm of forgetting what Christ has done for us and that REMINDERS are important. I don’t want to become blind and shortsighted! I don’t want to forget what HE has done for me! I need to THANK people who bring me the reminders!
Take time today to bring self-control back into your life. Take time to persevere with patience and KNOW that you are firmly established in the TRUTH from HIM. As you LISTEN to Him, HE will give you the ability to LET GO. Remember, the battles we fight are HIS and against spiritual realms we can’t see. When we remember this, we respond with HIS quietness and peace, than HE takes care of the situation. This is self-control.
It is fitting that self-control is the last candle we light. Prayerfully, we begin fresh and NEW with our personal temples re-dedicated to Adonai. When the Maccabees took back the Temple so many years ago, they did it because they KNEW that it was the House of God. It had become defiled and filled with trash.
Today, there is no Temple. Our hearts and homes have become the place Adonai resides. When we exhibit the fruits of the Spirit, we bring HIS PRESENCE into us. When HIS Presence is IN us, than we are HIS LIGHTS to those around us.
The evening of December 22 the LOVE candle will light JOY. For the next eight nights take time to reflect and remind yourselves of WHO God wants YOU to be. Take time to walk in the LIGHT and BE the LIGHT.
Your word is a lamp for my foot
and light on my path.