On his birthday my grandson received a lot of candy from well-wishers. But his mom intervened and let him have only one piece a day. You see, he has a “sweet tooth,” and he would have devoured it all right away. When it comes to candy – he has little, or no self-control.
Self-control is an important part of being a Christian. The flesh wars against the Spirit in all of us, and if there is no control over the flesh, then there will be no living by the Spirit. In fact, we are told in Galatians 5:22-23 that one of the qualities of the life that the Holy Spirit produces in us is self-control – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control.” The ability to keep our passions, urges, and lusts under control is what the Spirit of God endeavors to do in every believer. It is the fruit of His work in us.
The word “self-control” means just that. It means to be in full control of oneself – to be disciplined. Actually, this word comes from the Greek word “enkrates,” which is a compound of the word en, meaning “in” and the word “krates,” which means “vigor or strength.” So “enkrates” means “to be strong in a thing; to be in control.”
Now that is always the goal of the Spirit’s work – to make sure that we are in control of whatever is happening within us. You may not be able to control external circumstances, but by yielding to the Holy Spirit in your life, you can control how you react to circumstances, and how you choose to think.
What about you? Are you in control or out of control? Can you control your anger? How about your pride? Or lust? Or those evil thoughts? What about those secret sins? Pray right now, and ask the Holy Spirit to enable you in those areas where you tend to lose control, and remember – “The fruit of the Spirit is self-control.”
Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Reminder: Any time you are not in control — you are in bondage!