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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

May 30, 2014 - The Spiritual Fruit of Self-Control

By William E. Richardson

"But the fruit of the Spirit is ... self-control" (Galatians 5:22,23, NASB).

The catalog of catch-phrases. The barrage of images. The cacophony of voices. They keep coming, wave after wave, prompting us to enjoy every pleasure and fulfill every whim.

The world system exalts indulgence. It frowns on restraint. Television sitcoms and dramas feature self-centered and immoral characters. Best-selling books push godless behavior. Popular music parades it. Oscar-winning films display it. YouTube and blog sites rehash the media's disregard for self-control.

But when the Bible is our guide, rather than pop culture, self-control matters. Galatians 5:22,23 concludes with the spiritual fruit of self-control. You might say it is the Bible's final word on spiritual fruit.

The Holy Spirit doesn't force us to exhibit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. We are part of the process. God plants the seeds in the soil of our hearts. We must water the seeds and see they get nourishment. As they grow, we must weed them. That takes saying no to some things and yes to others.

While saying yes to Bible reading and prayer, I must say no to certain books, music, and Internet content. Spiritual fruit will grow in my life because I read and meditate on God's word and obey it.

A Christian's fruit of self-control relies on following what might be called the spiritual food pyramid. The Bible agrees that certain thoughts and actions have tantalizing flavor. It also states they erode spiritual health. The Bible goes on to detail what our spirits need in abundance.

The fruit of self-control is visible in things I do and say. But it begins in what I fill my mind with on a daily basis. So much in the world is based on lies, hypocrisy, injustice, and moral ugliness. My option is, as much as possible, to fill my mind with thoughts that are true, noble, just, pure, and lovely (Philippians 4:8). Those thoughts accelerate spiritual health and fruit.

Jesus said what springs from our thoughts either strengthens or stunts spiritual growth. He equated certain things we say to someone (which begin as thoughts) with physically murdering another human being (Matthew 5:21,22). He went on to equate thoughts of lust with actually committing adultery (Matthew 5:27,28).

Today, I will practice self-control. I will fill my mind with spiritually nourishing words and images. I will work with the Holy Spirit by thinking on things that produce spiritual fruit.

May you bear abundant fruit of self-control today.

— William E. Richardson is senior pastor of Afton (Iowa) Assembly of God and blogs at lights4god.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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