This is the last post in my series of the Fruits of the Spirit; I hope you have enjoyed reading them. The last fruit is self control, which I personally think it’s one of the most important. Basically, it works alongside our conscience as our first defence against sin; it will help us keep out of all kinds of trouble. We will all be tempted in life, and without self control we will just give in to these temptations, which make us easy prey for Satan. Once he realises we are weak, he will keep coming back to us with more and more harmful offers until our lives are a total wreck. All because we lack self control. That first defence against sin is vital, and that first defence against sin is self control.
In Proverbs 25:28, the Bible gives a great analogy: “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” In those days, a city without walls would just be invaded by enemies, and we are no different, only our walls are made of self control. We can either have no walls, and enemies can walk right into the midst of our soul; we can have small walls made out of wood, which can keep out the simple stuff, but when we are besieged they provide little protection; or we can have towering walls made out of really strong material which can keep out anything we choose to keep out. Self control is like that, it’s what provides us with the necessary protection to keep from being easily targeted be Satan. Quite simply it’s something that will be a huge asset to us in life; it will stop us doing harmful stuff our conscience tells us is wrong to do.
In Matthew 7:13-14, the Bible talks about a narrow road that leads to heaven, and a wide road that leads to destruction (hell). Imagine walking along the narrow road, but seeing through gaps in the fence many exciting things on the wide road. We know we shouldn’t go onto the wide road because we know where it goes, but we just really want to step over onto that destructive path; it looks so fun. Our conscience is screaming away at us not to do it. We hear it’s warning, but what is the only thing that will stop us from following our selfish desires and crossing over? Self control. That may sound like a totally hypothetical scenario, but it’s not. It’s a very real analogy. It happens to us every day; we get tempted to go off that Godly path and on to the way of death.
Going back to the city walls thing, we must remember that, even if one or two powerful things should manage to break through, we do have another weapon that will help us, when asked; that weapon is God’s power. The person who is trying to break into our city is God’s #1 enemy, the Devil. But we know from the Bible that God is more powerful than the Devil, so if we ask him we know we have the most powerful weapon we can imagine, 1000000 times better than any nuclear bomb the government could create. Though that doesn’t mean that we won’t ever be tempted, it just means we have a better chance of winning those battles. (That day when we are no longer tempted will come when we get to the perfect “new earth” http://godatthecentreofourlives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/the-second-coming-by-jack-lewis.html#disqus_thread) Also remember that it takes time to build up self control, people didn’t just arrive at a good location for a city, and simply have giant walls rise up out of the ground around them; the walls would have taken years to build. Neither did people arrive on earth and instantly make laser guided missiles by clicking their fingers; it took thousands of years of inventions to get to this stage. Thankfully it won’t take us that long to build up self control, but it won’t happen overnight. It will take weeks and months of prayer and practice to build the walls around ourselves big enough to resist most of the temptations we face. Remember that the more we are self controlled with the small things, the easier we will find it to resist the big temptations we come across. Also if we are struggling with one big temptation, every time we are in a situation where we could give in to that thing, remember that if we manage to resist it we will find it far easier to resist next time, and eventually get to the stage where we are no longer tempted.