My blogging buddy Alisa Nicaud joins us today for this week’s Word Nerd Wednesday post which is the last in the Fruit of the Spirit series: Self Control.
What is Self Control?
World definition (Google): the ability to control oneself.
Biblical definition (Vine’s Expository): controlling the power of the will under the operation of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
When my son was younger one of the things he struggled with the most was self control. He loved people. And he loved to entertain them. There was no lengths he wouldn’t go, to provide entertainment to a crowd (including doing a cannonball at his baptism and nearly landing on the pastor’s wife). I’m happy to say that he has grown in the area of self control since 3rd grade.
This is a funny example of the lack of self control (at least now), but as we grow and develop as Christians, the reality of how hard it is to maintain self control can be daunting.
Whether it’s a bad habit, a sin, a fleshly desire or something as simple as a response, learning self control is not something that’s easily attained just by sheer will.
How do we get self control?
As I studied the definitions of self control I was intrigued by the similarities I found in the two meanings. They were almost identical in wording, except for a few small, but important, words added to the end. If we look at the Vine’s Expository definition, we see this phrase attached:
under the operation of the Spirit.
The world tells us that it is our job to gain self control. It screams at us to correct our behavior and produce the fruit of self control without the power we need to attain it. You see, true self control requires a guidance from the Holy Spirit. As a fruit of the Spirit, self control is grown by an intimate time spent with God. The more we connect with Him and spend time in His presence, the more self control we have.
The Fruit of Self Control
One resource I love to use when digging into word studies is the Webster 1828 Dictionary. However, when I looked up the word self control, it returned no results. Going back to the original context of Galatians 5:22-23, I realized why. In the King James Version, the word used for self control is actually temperance.
What is temperance?
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines temperance as habitual moderation in regard to the indulgence of the natural appetites and passions.
The insight to this new word gave me an even greater clarity as to what the fruit of self control really looks like grown in a believer’s life.
When we accept Christ, He comes to live in our hearts. Our hearts are changed right away.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
However, our souls (mind, will and emotions) are being renewed.
“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”
As we draw close to Jesus, letting Him work in us, tempering us, we grow more in His likeness. Our flesh becomes weaker, but our spirits become stronger.
The Psalmist says it this way…
“Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. “
Psalm 37:4 NIV
Spending time with Jesus, causes us to change. Our fleshly desires begin to melt away and He places new desires in us. It’s not us attempting to control ourselves. It is allowing ourselves to be controlled by His Spirit. As we submit to His leading, we begin to outwardly portray the fruit of self control.Self Control is not us attempting to control ourselves. It is allowing ourselves to be controlled by His Spirit. @AlisaNicaud #wordnerdwednesday #fruitofthespirit #selfcontrol Click To Tweet
About the author:
Alisa Nicaud currently lives just north of New Orleans, LA with her husband Philip Nicaud, their five children and their dog, Roux. She owns a boutique coaching practice and is the founder of the blog, Flourishing Today. Through her own tragedies, Alisa is intimately familiar with the struggles of anxiety, fear, insecurity and depression. Alisa’s willingness to be transparent gives her a unique advantage in relating to women from all walks of life and leadership. She freely shares helpful hints and practical encouragement rooted in Biblical truth in her posts and resources. Her passion is to help women grow in faith and walk in purpose. You can learn more by visiting her blog at www.flourishingtoday.com
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday, Moments of Hope