You know the old saying "We saved the best for last", well I am not sure this is what we have done here. Maybe God intended it that way, but self-control I would rather do without. As the matter of fact, every other fruit seems almost attainable, but self-control is hard to fathom for me. But with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27), so here we go.
The world of self-control, it seems so distant for me. I asked God to show me what He means, and being the God of answered prayer, He led me to Titus. In this book, Paul has moved on and left Titus in Crete. He is writing a letter to his brother in faith, encouraging Titus, as he is there to appoint leaders of the church. Paul tells Titus about the things the people are doing and how it is unpleasing to God. He then tells him what the leader must look like, Paul speaks of the various groups of people. Each of these have a list of different things that he is expecting of them to be pleasing to God. There is a common thread amongst all of them, you guessed it, self-control.
I always perceived it as being able to stop something, wether it be eating the cookies or finishing a back of potato chips. As I read Titus, I am realizing that there is more to the meaning. I do, however, believe that God is intending on meaning that we can stop inappropriate behaviors and actions, but I also believe He is asking us to be attentive to do things.
The definition of self-control is the restraint exercised over one's own impulses, emotions, or desires. The sign langue sign for self-control is taking your two pointer fingers, pointed in at each other and moving back and forth in opposite directions, to look like the bit and reigns of a horse. So I am thinking that the point of self-control is not only to learn to stop, but to reign what is good in order to stay on the correct path.
What would God want us to be in self-control of other than the bad stuff? I believe He is asking us to reign in our time. Think about it, if we took control of our time, we could be scheduling time in the word or doing what it is that God is asking us to do. In addition to time, we can have self-control over our thoughts and much more. If we were self-discipline enough, we could reign in each thought that comes in, in order to make sure it aligns with Gods truth before we allow it to enter our minds (2 Cor 10:5). If we practice self-control in the way we spend money, we may be able to get out of debt or never fall into it. If we practice self-control in how we treat the ones around us, God may be able to restore broken relationships to a level we could never have imagined. If we practice self-control in how we speak and what we choose to share with others or what we choose to leave between ourselves and God, it could save ourselves so much trouble with those we speak about. Wow, that is quite a to-do list, so let's start our journey off the best way possible, prayer.
"Father, we thank you for Your word. Without it, we would have no You. We thank You for teaching us, no matter how bad it hurts. We want to be pleasing to You Lord. Help us Father, to be self-controlled. Some of us cringe at that word, but You are so loving that You have sent the Holy Spirit to help us to figure it out. I pray, Father that You speak to each and every one of us and help us to identify and area of our lives that may need some reigning in. Thank You Father for loving us, thank You for teaching us, and thank You for guiding us. And all God's people said....Amen"