By Gina Caswell Kelly
“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.” Galations 5:22-23
The fruit of the Spirit. Wouldn’t it be a far different world if we all lived daily in the fruit of the Spirit? Can you even imagine such a world! A world of love and joy and peace, A world of kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. A world of restraint and self-control. The world could use more of all of these, for sure. But, there are a couple mentioned there that are almost the same word, so it must be important to God!
This translation uses the word forbearance, which is defined as patient self-control or restraint. So, basically self-control is mentioned twice, and that may be the very one with which we have the most trouble! Self-control is tough in a world that has no clue what self-control even is, it seems.
I am a very patient person. It is pretty easy for me to flex my “oh well” muscle most of the time. I will very seldom ever react quickly to situations. My tendency is to just wait it out and see what happens. And that is one area of self-control. I don’t have “Road Rage” even when things are quite frustrating around me. I do okay there. Again the “oh well” muscle activates. More self-control and restraint.
So, am I doing pretty good on that particular component of the fruit of the Spirit? Not so fast there. I have a verse about self-control hanging on my refrigerator. The purpose is to remind me that I don’t need another potato chip, or piece of chocolate, or bowl of ice cream. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Right here in front of everyone and in what passes for print these days, I am admitting to you that I am not very good at controlling what I put into my mouth! (I am also, at times, not very good at controlling what comes out of my mouth, but that is another column topic!)
Even as I write this, I am consuming a Pop-Tart, which is, if the truth be known, my second breakfast of the morning! It is not even 9:30 yet! But, does God really care about whether or not I overeat or put on a few pounds. I mean I try to be a pretty good person, otherwise. Well actually, He does. He cares very much about how we treat our bodies.
Another verse in the Bible talks about our bodies being God’s temple. We are to treat God’s temple with respect and the utmost care. He intends for us to care for the one body with which we have been entrusted. When we list the fruit of the Spirit, we need to remember that God is serious about all these, even the self-control aspect.
So, as I continue stepping on toes, as they say, I will remind you that our God is loving and caring, and He wants and expects us to care for those gifts that have been entrusted to us. Including our bodies. We can serve Him better when we feel better. We serve His world better when we are living a healthy life.
Choose self-control in all areas of your life, even what you take into your body! It will make a difference!