Week 7 | Self-Control
August 7 – August 13
Monday, August 7 | A Self Controlled by the Spirit – Day 43
Read Galatians 5:22–23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Paul’s placement of self-control as last in his list of fruit of the Spirit would have been significant in the first-century Roman world. In that world, self-mastery was a central virtue. The idea was to gain control of your impulses and desires so they wouldn’t run rampant and lead you into a life of debauchery. And in this sense, self-control becomes self-focused. By placing self-control last, though, Paul is indicating a shift away from self-mastery as a virtue and moving toward the idea that the path to self-control is actually to focus on others. The more we focus on the needs of others, honoring them above ourselves, and desiring to serve them, the more self-control we will have. Our “selves” will be controlled by the Spirit of God so that we can better love and serve others.
- What comes to mind for you when you think about self-control? What are some ways you have tried to master your impulses, temptations, or desires?
- Take a few minutes in prayer to identify before God—remembering you are in His loving presence—whatever came up in response to the question above. What help do you need from God? What is keeping you overly focused on yourself?
God, thank You for the Holy Spirit and for how You have given me what I need in order to focus on others. I am grateful to be able to turn myself over to You instead of being left on my own to master my own desires and impulses. I need Your help. Show me how to increasingly recognize my weaknesses and surrender them to You. Help me to know what my role to play is, and strengthen me so that I can cultivate a self that is controlled by Your life-giving, loving Spirit. Amen.
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