Mothers: Reflecting God’s Image

Mothers: Reflecting God’s Image

Since we celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday, I wanted to add some encouragement to the mothers in my life. And I think this is important because in today’s culture, we tend to either idolize or demonize people and positions – and neither does any good.

We can talk about how incredible and “perfect” mothers are, and unintentionally crush them into guilt as we put more on them than they can live up to.

OR, we talk of the imperfections we’ve seen in mothers or how we have been hurt by mother figures, and that does just as little good for all the mothers we ought to be thankful for.

Ultimately, the approach we should have towards mothers is one of thankfulness for the role they’ve played in our lives, and more importantly, their lives and roles should cause us to look towards God in thankfulness and worship.

So, let’s back up…

God Seen In Every Person And Position

As human beings, we have a very special position before God: we are “made in his image,” or “likeness” (Genesis 1:27).

But, even more than that, God has revealed Himself and His character throughout scripture by giving us comparisons for us to understand Who He is.

A classic example is that God is like a loving Father Who has compassion on His children (Psalm 103:13)…

But that is merely one example. The Bible is filled with comparisons so that we may get an idea of God’s goodness, love, kindness, gentleness and all Who God is by collecting these hundreds of glimpses into a single picture.

Here’s a few more examples to help explain what I mean:

God is described as or compared to a…

Shepherd (Psalm 23)
Warrior (Exodus 15:3)
King (Psalm 29:10)
Potter (Isaiah 29:16)
A friend (James 2:23)
Teacher/Guide (John 16:13)
And many more…

Each of these tells us an aspect of God’s unchanging character and role in our lives.

And one of the most great comparisons is how God is like a mother

God has used parental figures in His Word very frequently, which I’m sure is intentional since we all experience a parental figure in our lives at some point.

Here are just a few examples we see from scripture of how God is like our mothers.

Keep in mind that many of these are specifically God’s relationship to His covenant people, Israel, but we can definitely apply this love and character to God in how He loves and cares for all His people, especially now those who have been added to through His Son, Jesus (Ephesians 2:19, Ephesians 3:6, Romans 11:17-24)

“Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them.” – Hosea 11:3–4

“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” – Isaiah 66:13

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” – Isaiah 49:15

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” – Matthew 23:37

Mothers have been used many times to remind us of God’s undying love, protection, compassion, care, teaching, leadership and so many more things that most of us have experienced from our own mothers.

And, for these great examples of God’s Character, we ought to be thankful to our mothers…

Unfortunately, We (As Examples Of God) Are Broken And Imperfect

And this is where the problem begins.

We see how God compares Himself to mothers.
And we begin to lift them up to a place they don’t belong.

On a day when we should simply be thankful for our mothers,
Many, even in churches, begin to act as if they’re perfect (or that they ought to be)

And this puts an impossible burden on them.

Or we go the other route.

And maybe we’ve seen poor examples of mothers,
And we begin bashing the hurtful things mothers have done to those we love.

And neither way is good.

Because we were never meant to expect perfection from our mothers.

Like every other person alive,
Mothers represent a piece of God.

They have been made in the image of God
And have the special role of motherhood to exemplify specific traits from God.

But they are not God.

As with every other person alive, their role as an image bearer is to have their lives point to God as the One Who is perfect, Who is complete, Who is lacking nothing.

Just as we have been made as image bearers of God (Genesis 1:27)
Just as every Christian is an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)

Mothers are to point us to God, who is the perfect and complete “mother” we all need.

And as we look at our mothers, we can see their strong points. Their godly characteristics. And know that our God is even more so.

And when we also look at our mothers, and we see their faults. Their imperfections. We are rest assured that our God is not lacking in any way.

And when we look at our mothers this way, we can be thankful for everything they are.

Their strengths, as they help point us to God’s even greater strength.
And their weaknesses and lack, as they also point us to God’s strength and fullness.

There is no need to put them on a pedestal, to put a burden on them that would merely crush them; because it’s a weight they weren’t meant to bear.

Instead, we can enjoy them more fully,
Thanking God for every part of them,
And having their role in our lives bring us even more blessing as it points us to God.

What Does Jesus Say? (And Should I Care?)

What Does Jesus Say? (And Should I Care?)

Yesterday, I got to teach the older kids class at our church as we continued through our study in the book of Mark.

Even better, we were studing the story of The Transfiguration (Mark 9:1–13).

Here’s the basics:

  • Jesus goes up on a mountain with Peter, James and John…
  • And… “He [Jesus] was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.” (Mark 9:2–3)
  • And… Then Moses and Elijah are there speaking with him…
  • And… Just as Peter is starting to say they should make tents for them and stay a while with them…

When Suddenly… This Happens:

And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.” -Mark 9:7–8

Even for Jesus’ ministry where “the miraculous” was synonymous with “just another Monday” (they were common)… THIS was uncommon.

In all of Jesus’ ministry, there were only two other times where the Father audibly spoke from Heaven. Once at His baptism (Matthew 3:17) and once when Jesus was publicly (John 12:28).

This Is A BIG Deal.

The Father felt it very important, to tell us something.

And what was that?

That Jesus isn’t just another prophet, miracle worker, or man greatly used by God. Jesus is His Son. And we should listen to Him.

Jesus Is God. And When God Says Something, We Should Listen.

Think about it this way:

  • If I called you a liar, it might hurt, but there’s no real consequence…
  • But if your boss calls you a liar, there could be consequences…
  • And if a judge calls you a liar, there will be even greater consequences…

Basically: the level of authority someone has over you, the greater their words matter.

Sometimes, we give someone authority over us by simply valuing them and caring what they say. Other times, their authority over us is given to them by someone else (such as your direct boss being given authority by the company you work for).

So, where does God fall into this?

Well…

  • He created us (Genesis 1:1)
  • Everything we are, have and see is His (Job 41:11, 1 Corinthians 10:26)
  • He is the final Judge of our entire existence (Ezekiel 18:4, Luke 12:20, James 4:12)

God’s Words Matter… A Lot.

And, if they matter so much…

Then what does He say?

The God Who spoke the universe into being…
Has said things to you in His Word.
Have you been listening?

We are told many things each and every day,
Some of them are truth,
Others are not.

And we would do good to follow Paul’s instructions:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2

Renewing Our Minds

The idea of “renewing our minds” is simply this:

Correcting the lies with truth.

So, as we did in the kid’s class yesterday, I encourage you to write down everything you’re told, and more importantly, what you believe. The good, the bad, the truth, the lies and everything in-between. A few examples might be:

  • “You need “X” to be successful or happy”
  • “This life is all there is, so make the most of it”
  • “What’s most important is the experiences you have and people you meet”
  • “If you try hard enough, you can accomplish anything”
  • “Your life is what you make of it”
  • “What goes around, comes around”

Write a list of the thoughts, words, ideas and beliefs you hold most closely…

And see what Jesus has to say about them.

Does He confirm them?
Or deny them?

Because, as we’ve already alluded to…

What He Says Is All That Matters

To help you get started, here’s a list of some of the things God/Jesus says about some of the most important things we experience in life. May you take them to heart and be encouraged, corrected and renewed as you seek what God says about life.

  • Jesus wants you to do good to those who are unkind to you

1 Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”

  • Jesus wants us to do our best to be at peace with others

Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

  • Jesus wants us to be encouraging to others

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

  • Jesus doesn’t want us to gossip

Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

  • Jesus wants us to love God with all of our lives

Matthew 22:37–38 “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”

  • Jesus wants us to love others as ourselves

Matthew 22:39 “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

  • Jesus wants us to live holy lives that obey Him

1 Thessalonians 4:3a “For this is the will of God, your sanctification”

  • Jesus won’t give up on us

Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

  • Jesus has prepared good things for us to do

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

  • Jesus wants us to have faith in Him

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

  • Jesus can help us do good, AND He can help us want to do good

Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

  • Jesus wants us to not be anxious

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

  • We can go to Jesus for comfort

2 Corinthians 1:3–5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

  • We can go to Jesus for wisdom

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

  • We can go to Jesus for help

2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

  • Jesus is working all things for your good, and you have purpose

Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

  • Jesus has a plan for your life

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

  • Jesus opposes the prideful and gives grace to the humble

James 4:6 “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

  • Jesus has given you the ability to do everything He has told you to do… today

2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

  • Jesus empowers you to overcome any temptation

1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

  • Jesus is with you through all of life

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:13 “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

  • Jesus will make all things right (He will get revenge)

Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

  • You can go to Jesus with your problems

1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

  • Jesus can give you peace

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

  • Northing can separate you from Jesus’ love

Romans 8:38–39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

  • Jesus wants you to obey your parents

Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”

  • You are valued by Jesus

1 Peter 1:18–19 “Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

  • Our hearts are deceitful and wicked

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

  • Jesus wants you to trust in Him, not in yourself

Jeremiah 17:5,7 “Cursed is the man who trusts in man… Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD.”

All of Grace by Charles Spurgeon

All of Grace by Charles Spurgeon

As you saw last week, I’ve been listening to a podcast called “Hurry Up And Read” where they read old Christian books aloud on the podcast (that have entered public domain).

As such, here are some quotes and notes from another book I’ve listened to on that podcast. They’re great to meditate on, and if you like them, you can go listen to them too, or read the book, “All of Grace” by Charles Spurgeon yourself.


“The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride, the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair.”

“The medicine is for the desired.
The quickening for the dead.
The pardon for the guilty.
Liberation is for the bound.
The opening of eyes is for those who are blind.”

My note: Forgiveness is for the guilty. Are you “not guilty”? Then look to the law and find that you are. Do you recognize your guilt? Then there’s forgiveness in Jesus.




“If you justify yourself, you will simply be a self-deceiver. Therefore, do not attempt it, it is never worthwhile. If you ask your fellow mortals to justify you, what can they do? You can make some of them speak well of you for small favors, and others will backbite you for less. Their judgment is not worth much. Our text says: “It is God who justifies,” and this is a deal more to the point.

Read carefully the parable of the prodigal son, and see how the forgiving father receives the returning wanderer with as much love as if he had never gone away, and had never defiled himself with harlots. So far did he carry this that the elder brother began to grumble at it, but the father never withdrew his love.”




“Still, I again remind you that faith is only the channel or aqueduct, and not the fountainhead, and we must not look so much to it as to exalt it above the divine source of all blessing which lies in the grace of God. Never make a Christ out of your faith, nor think of as if it were the independent source of your salvation. Our life is found in “looking unto Jesus,” not in looking to our own faith. By faith all things become possible to us; yet the power is not in the faith, but in the God upon whom faith relies.”

My note: We are not saved by our faith. We are saved by Jesus, in Whom we put our faith. If we were saved by faith, then some could be “more saved” or “more secure” as their faith is greater. Instead, whether little or great, our faith all results in the same saving, because the saving is done by Jesus, not ourselves.

And, therefore, our Savior, our Lord, our King, is Jesus, not our own faith.



“My fear is lest the reader should rest content with understanding what is to be done, and yet never do it. Better the poorest real faith actually at work, than the best ideal of it left in the region of speculation. The great matter is to believe on the Lord Jesus at once. Never mind distinctions and definitions. A hungry man eats though he does not understand the composition of his food, the anatomy of his mouth, or the process of digestion: he lives because he eats. Another far more clever person understands thoroughly the science of nutrition; but if he does not eat he will die, with all his knowledge. There are, no doubt, many at this hour in Hell who understood the doctrine of faith, but did not believe. On the other hand, not one who has trusted in the Lord Jesus has ever been cast out, though he may never have been able intelligently to define his faith. Oh dear reader, receive the Lord Jesus into your soul, and you shall live forever! “He that believeth in Him hath everlasting life.”

My note: Your knowledge of faith cannot save you. Your speculation of salvation does no good. You must apply the faith to your heart, just as you must apply food to your stomach for it to do you any good.



“He who may have a treasure simply by his grasping it, will be foolish indeed if he remains poor.”



“Trust Jesus. And prove your trust by doing whatever He bids you.”



“I am told that years ago a boat was upset above the falls of Niagara, and two men were being carried down the current, when persons on the shore managed to float a rope out to them, which rope was seized by them both. One of them held fast to it and was safely drawn to the bank; but the other, seeing a great log come floating by, unwisely let go the rope and clung to the log, for it was the bigger thing of the two, and apparently better to cling to. Alas! the log with the man on it went right over the vast abyss, because there was no union between the log and the shore. The size of the log was no benefit to him who grasped it; it needed a connection with the shore to produce safety. So when a man trusts to his works, or to sacraments, or to anything of that sort, he will not be saved, because there is no junction between him and Christ; but faith, though it may seem to be like a slender cord, is in the hands of the great God on the shore side; infinite power pulls in the connecting line, and thus draws the man from destruction. Oh the blessedness of faith, because it unites us to God!”

My note: Jesus is the only one who is in a position and ability to save us from our sin.




“He [Jesus] died for men, not as believers, but sinners.”




“’Faith comes by hearing,’ therefore, hear often.”

My note: Read about Jesus. Hear about Jesus. Talk about Jesus. Build your faith in Jesus.




“It is well for us that as sin lives, and the flesh lives, and the devil lives, so Jesus lives; and it is also well that whatever might these may have to ruin us, Jesus has still greater power to save us.”




“If you look to Christ for your beginnings, beware of looking to yourself for your endings. He is Alpha, see to it you make Him Omega, also.”




“This faithfulness of God is the foundation and cornerstone of our hope of final perseverance. The saints shall persevere in holiness, because God perseveres in grace. He perseveres to bless, and therefore believers persevere in being blessed. He continues to keep His people, and therefore they continue to keep His commandments. This is good solid ground to rest upon, and it is delightfully consistent with the title of this little book, “all of grace.” Thus it is free favor and infinite mercy which ring in the dawn of salvation, and the same sweet bells sound melodiously through the whole day of grace.”






There are many more quotes and thoughts shared in the book, those are just a few for you to consider and think about.

Have a wonderful day!

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

I’ve been listening to a podcast called “Hurry Up And Read” where they read old Christian books aloud on the podcast (that have entered public domain).

I’ve enjoyed this book so much that I wanted to share with you some of my favorite quotes and thoughts I wrote down while going through the book. They’re great to meditate on, and if you like them, you can go listen to them too, or read the book “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” for yourself.


“Contentment is to “keep under” God’s authority. To submit to Him in all things. His power, His decisions, His protection, His will.”

My note: To do this effectively, we must remember that God is good and that He knows more than us, and sees things we cannot see.



“Whether you are content or not, can you change the Providence of God?” (And would you want to?)

My note: A great challenge to remind ourselves when we are discontent.



“In active obedience we worship God by doing what pleases God, but by passive obedience we do as well worship God but being pleased with what God does.”

My note: Contentment brings worship to God as it embraces His godness in our lives above us and our subjection to Him.

“It is right that the LORD should do with this poor creature what He will. I am under His feet and am resolved to do what I can to honor Him. And whatever He does with me I will seek Him as long as I live. I will be content with what God gives and whether He gives or not I will be content.”



“A Christian should consider how murmuring and discontentedness are so below the dignity of the place God has put us in. The lowest Christian is a Son of the King of Heaven and Earth.”

My note: When we complain, murmur or are discontent, we are becoming the slaves of our afflictions and situation as they are controlling our emotions and lives. This is below the place that God has desired to place us.





There are many more quotes and thoughts shared in the book, those are just a few for you to consider and think about.

Have a wonderful day!

We Need God’s Spirit to Bear the Fruit of the Spirit

We Need God’s Spirit to Bear the Fruit of the Spirit

“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” – Galatians 3:3

One of my favorite stories of the late pastor Chuck Smith is from one of the pastors in the group he discipled as the Jesus Movement and Calvary Chapel first started.

This pastor said that in their weekly meetings, they would often ask pastor Chuck if there was any concern weighing on his heart that he was praying for regarding the church and especially the leaders in the church.

His response was always the same: he was most concerned that they would one day begin to work in the flesh and not in the Spirit.

Out of all of the things that he could be troubled over during this time of massive revival and spiritual transformation in people, his greatest concern was to make sure that everything he did was by the grace and leading of God’s Spirit rather than his own efforts.

We would do well to have this same healthy concern for ourselves,
especially when it comes to producing the fruit of the Spirit within our lives.

The temptation to do it on our own

When you consider the fruit of the Spirit, do you think some are easier than others?

(as a reminder, the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control)

Even non-Christians who do not have the Spirit of God can be considered peaceful people.
Or patient
Kind
Good
Faithful
And so on.

This is because although none of us are perfect, we are still made in God’s image and reflect pieces of Him, regardless of how broken we are.

And this brings the temptation to rely on our own “goodness” in areas we are “naturally” bent towards. Maybe you are more bent towards being joyful, or patient with people. Maybe your personality leads itself to being faithful or disciplined.

It’s easy to think that we don’t really need God to help us in those areas; we’ve got them covered.

However, God’s Word tells us that it’s impossible to truly please God without faith in Him (Hebrews 11:6) and that even our good works, without His grace, are like dirty rags (Isaiah 64:6).

I think we all see our shortcomings clearly. Maybe you are someone who grows impatient quickly, or who finds it hard to be gentle. It is easy to see that we need God’s Spirit to fill us to empower us to be those things.

But the danger is found in the things we naturally do better.
They lead us to thinking we don’t need God’s help.
They lead to a prideful heart, which God opposes above all else.

We need God’s Spirit for every part of our character

Whether a godly character trait comes “easy” or not, we need to realize our complete need for God’s Spirit to bear the fruit in our lives that only He can do.

As Jesus reminded us in John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all”.

So may we rest fully on God’s Spirit for His character to be grown in our hearts and lives, and may we never begin to try to “perfect in the flesh” what was “begun in the Spirit.”

God has started this good work in our hearts and lives; and He has promised to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)

So let us let Him do it.

“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” – Galatians 5:16

“For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh—” – Philippians 3:3

“Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” – Zechariah 4:6

If you missed the any of the fruits of the Spirit posts, you can check them out at the links below:

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Love
The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Joy
The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Peace
The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Patience
The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Kindness
The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Goodness
The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Faithfulness
The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Gentleness
The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Self-Control

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Self-Control

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Self-Control

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22–23

The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Self-Control

Self-control is probably the least “flashy” of all of the fruits of the Spirit, but it’s necessary for spiritual growth, in that the other fruits of the Spirit kind of rely on self-control.

Do you want to experience the fullness of spiritual growth and maturity that Jesus has for you?

It begins and ends with His Spirit empowering you to have self-control.

Self-control in showing love, even when it’s hard
Self-control in seeking joy in difficult times
Self-control in pursuing peace in the midst of hardship
Self-control in choosing patience when you don’t want to wait
Self-control to be kind when it would be easier to fight back
Self-control to be good when you want to go against God’s goodness
Self-control to stay faithful when you want to give up
Self-control to be gentle when it would be easier to be harsh.

If you remember, we began with the first fruit of the Spirit: love (which you can read about at this link. In that first post, I mentioned how many consider love to be the overarching discipline which is then “flushed out” in deeper description through the rest of the fruits of the spirit.

Likewise, self-control is the summation of what needs to happen in our lives to begin this journey of bearing these fruits of the Spirit.

In other words:
Without the first step of self-control, we will not bear any of the other fruits of the Spirit.

God’s Spirit and grace

By emphasizing the importance of self-control, I’m by no means saying that this is up to you to accomplish all of these things. I’m merely pointing out the order of experiencing the fruits of God’s Spirit in our lives: Before we can have God’s love, joy, peace, patience, etc. flow our from our lives, we must first experience God’s Spirit to bring self-control to our hearts and lives.

Which is why Paul emphasizes this in his words to Timothy when he wrote:

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

God gives us power
And love
And self-control
So that, by His Spirit, we may be transformed to be more like Him and bear the fruit of His character and Spirit.

The blessing of self-control

Before we ask God to give us more self-control and grace in our everyday lives, I thought it would be important to reflect on the blessing of living a disciplined life.

And, in many ways, it simply results in a more enjoyable life.

For example, you are able to enjoy and live life without being as tossed about by the difficult people and challenging situations you experience in life.

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” – Proverbs 25:28

“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” – Proverbs 16:32

By self-control, you are able to stay away from and resist the things that are not good for you (though they seem good at the time) and that God desires to protect you from.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

And, by self-control, you can enjoy pursuing the direction and life that God has created for you to live.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24–25

The blessings that come into our lives from self-control are undeniable.

It brings peace to our everyday lives
It keeps us from the sin and temptations that can easily bring our lives pain
And it draws us near to the good plan and purpose that God has for our lives.

All from God’s Spirit providing us self-control in our everyday lives.

Embrace the blessing

Just like the rest of the fruits of the Spirit, nothing can be done from our own effort.

“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” – Galatians 3:3

We need the grace and Spirit of God to bring self-control to our lives in a way that only He can.

So, let us continue to pray for His Spirit to empower and guide us so that we may bear the fruit of His Spirit each and every day.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:3–8

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,” – Titus 2:11–12

“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;” – 1 Timothy 4:7

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