Stop that! I mean it!


Of all the character traits lacking in American society today, self-control has to be the most obvious.
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Just look around. People are out of control. Greed, lust, self-promotion, anger, substance abuse, spending, and arrogance are just a few of the ways human beings refuse to control themselves--or better yet, allow God to control them.
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The idea of self-control sounds a little outdated in our culture of reality television and blatant pornography. Self-control has been replaced by externals control because we refuse to do it ourselves. We think we've found clever ways to ignore the boundaries God established long ago, but it's hard to ignore the consequences.
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So we rename them.
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Drunkenness and drug addiction have been cleaned up and elevated to the status of a "disease." Homosexual perversion is now a "lifestyle alternative," and pornographers cry loud and long for their right to "freedom of expression."
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How clever we are! We have deluded ourselves into believing that what was once evil is now acceptable. And we assume that--if there is a God---He's going right along with it.
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But Scripture warns, "Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, that will he reap."
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On the flip side of self-control, are the positive traits we should be exhibiting and are not.
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Notice that self-control is last on the list of nine spiritual fruits. I think that's intentional. Without self-control, it is impossible for God's Spirit to so fill us enough to live out the other eight. Without controlling our natural fleshly impulses, we'll easily slide right back into the very sin God delivered us from. Without practicing the daily disciplines of prayer, worship, and study of God's Word, the other Fruits of the Spirit won't be able to flourish.
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Self-control is the ribbon that ties up the package. Without it,there isn't a package.


It's easy to judge the people who are clearly coloring outside the lines, but what about you? Are there areas of your life where you need self-control?
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What about your fantasy life? Your choice of entertainment? Your shopping habits? Your eating habits? Or your temper?
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Are there areas in which you feel defeated or that you'll never measure up? Do your senses of identity and significance need the control of God's Spirit to regulate them? Do you see yourself as God sees you, or are you still using the world's crooked meter-stick to decide your worth?
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Self-control covers far more ground than we may think. It's the icing on the cake, but the most necessary if we want victory in all other areas.
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It's only in fully committing yourself to Christ that you will be able to lay claim to these delicious fruits. You can't do it yourself. Jesus is ready to do it for you, but you've got to give him the key to the orchard gate.

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