Fruit of the Spirit Series ~ Temperance

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

Today I am sharing a piece of a 9-part series which involves 8 other lovely ladies. You will find the line up at the end of this post. The topic I am sharing about is temperance, or self-control.

When I hear " fruit of the spirit", I used to cringe thinking about all the things I could never live up to.

Like patience, for example? I've been a mother for over 9 years, and currently have five children. You'd think that after all that practice, I'd be more patient than I am. Unfortunately, it is not so.

Or what about self-control? This is one of the hardest things I struggle with ~ in all areas. I have a hard time controlling emotions at times. Sometimes I don't know when to stop eating sweets; rather than have a couple of cookies, I'll have six. Sometimes I can't won't control my computer time.

But isn't that just it? The fruit of the Spirit isn't something I'm completely in control of. In fact, I believe it means giving up control. When the Spirit lives in us--when we give the Spirit room in our lives to move--the outpouring result is fruit. When we are rooted in Christ, only then will this fruit grow.

John 15:5 says

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

The fruit that's spoken of here is the fruit of the Spirit. All good character is fruit only coming from the Spirit.

We cannot stand alone, however. Christ must hold us up.

What I am in control of is taking the steps to remain in Christ Jesus. When I read and memorize His word, I know how to live the life that He's called me to live and I learn to walk in that.

When I pray consistently, I am consistently connected with Him and can more readily hear His voice. So, when we talk about self-control, this is something we cannot control on our own. We must be remain in Christ for the fruit of the Spirit to be evident in our lives.

When the Holy Spirit prompts me to resist temptation, it is my time to act. What choice will I make? Am I struggling with the right choice? This is when I need to pray for God's strength to come through on my behalf.

When I have a child who is pressing the limits of patience and I feel frustrations begin to rise, I need to take that as a cue to pray against the temptation to act out in anger and to pray for self-control---which I really see as Spirit-control.

Here's a tangible way to help you combat lack of self-control:

  1. Write down the areas you lack control in--whatever they are that come to your mind.
  2. Choose 1 or 2 from that list to focus on.
  3. Look up a verse or two in order to memorize that deal with these issues.
  4. Write the verse on a note card and hang it in a place where you will see it often.
  5. When that particular temptation comes knocking, use that as a cue to immediately pray before doing anything else. It doesn't have to be an hour long prayer. Just a simple prayer asking God to give you the strength to make the right choice.

He will meet you there. Keep in mind, however, that in order to bear fruit, you must remain in Him.

Question: What are some ways that have helped you bear the fruit of temperance, or self-control?

Please visit the other ladies who are a part of this powerful series:

Esther - Faith
Angela - Love
Jill - Goodness
Richelle - Longsuffering
Jenny - Joy
Stephanie - Meekness
Jacinda - Gentleness
Heather - Peace
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