Friday, August 7, 2009

Scripture Application

Question: What do you think is so hard about applying the Scripture to your life?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Self Control is Just Hard Work...but there is hope!

Self Control is Just Hard Work… Sorry... but there is hope!

Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

What kind of seed produces self control? Getting fruit takes a long process. I mean, I’m no farmer. Not one green thumb. But even I know you have to plant a certain kind of seed to get a certain kind of fruit. For instance, my mother-in-law has mastered the art of growing her own tomatoes. She knew that only tomato seeds would grow tomatoes. So when it comes to fruits of the Spirit, it seems the same rule applies. But how do you plant a self control seed? Okay, without belaboring you with analogy, let me get to the point.

If there were little packets of self control on the grocery shelf and it only required dirt and water for growth, our uncontrollable ways would be under submission and we would be conquering more challenging battles. However, it’s not that simple. Many of us have been trying to get our sensually eroded thought life under control since we were 14. Others want to be grateful, but are in torment with our severe discontent with every crevice of life. See self control is more than just an idea. It can really happen. The Bible is true. Fruit is produced by its seed. The seed of self-control takes a concentration of seeds for a great harvest of transformation. It takes more than one finger to steer a vehicle. So we need to get rid of our old efforts to gain control of our lives.

If self control is a fruit of the spirit, then we must sow much discipline in our spirit. Desire may initiate the change, but prayer, meditation, fasting and study will take it around the corner and in a different direction. Prayer, meditation, fasting and study are disciplines that create the housing in which self control can live and thrive. Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster is a book I read at least once a year. This book has helped me time and time again to put in perspective what a real connection to the Spirit of Christ is- it guides me on how to make the disciplines a real, deep, intimate and an engrafted reality in my life.

Discipline is the difference between a loss and a win. Discipline is the difference between a hobby and a profession. Discipline allows God’s gifts an opportunity to be the best in us and faith allows for what God supernaturally wants us to have come forth. Faith plus discipline is the ultimate way to make an earnest desire a reality. Faith is usually not the issue. Discipline is. We believe a change can come, but we lack the real sweat equity to make it happen. My mother-in-law’s tomato plant grows not because of the water and protection around it alone. She checks on it religiously. Every time she thinks of it. Before work, after work, on the weekends and at night before bed. She wants so much for the tomatoes to grow. Not just so we can enjoy the fruit of her labor some day, but because she wants to be assured that she can complete and care for the process.

I could have chosen any fruit of the spirit, but I chose self control, for it takes real transformation to embody. Sermons, devotionals and blogs are great. But nothing will replace the spiritual disciplines that really bring about change. Just try it. Take one area of your life and exercise each discipline on that area. Bum-rush that thing with biblical prayer, meditation, fasting and study!

My Prayer: May you experience a ripe change and vine of long term success!

Proverbs 25:28 (New International Version)
28 Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.