Sowing Seeds of Self Control
Growing Your Spiritual Garden
The new year is quickly approaching. This is the time for people to make resolutions: resolutions that will often be broken two days into the year. The idea of making a resolution is a noble one, but what good does it do if we can not keep our promises?
What we also fail to remember is that when we make a resolution, we are making promises to ourselves, and we are making promises to God. The behaviors we strive to correct are often related to overindulgence. We often promise to eat less or exercise more. We desire to strengthen the body and to take better care of the temples we have been given by God. However, we are human. Our sinful body leads us astray. Soon we are back to overeating while we sit in front of our televisions night after night.
To succeed at any goal, whatever it may be, we need support. Fortunately, for us, we have the help of the Holy Spirit. In Galatians, Paul tells the Christians in Galatia and the Christians today that if we are led by the Spirit, we will produce fruit; and, one of these fruits is the fruit of self-control. When the Spirit dwells within us, we are given strength to accomplish any goal we may desire.
Too often, we forget that we need the strength that comes from God. When we forget to rely upon God, we fail miserably because, no matter how hard we try, we can not do anything on our own. We need God every single minute of the day. In Galatians 5:16, Paul says, "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." The overindulgence, debauchery, and other sinful behaviors are products of our sinful natures. If we let our sinful natures rule our lives, we quickly lose self control and plunge into a pit of desolation dug by our own desires.
Instead, we must focus on what is good and pure. We must focus on love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. We must be careful to plant seeds demonstrating that our lives are in constant step with the Spirit. As Paul states in Galatians 6:8, "The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."
Eternal life is the prize that we keep before us as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. It is a road that is difficult to travel. It is a road that is full of rocks and ruts which often cause us to trip and fall by the wayside. Breaking the promises that we make to ourselves is just one example of the many pitfalls that plague a our journeys with Jesus. However, when we do fall by the wayside, Christ comes back for us. He never strays far from our sides. He knows when we are in trouble and, like a shepherd looking for a lost sheep, Jesus always finds us.
It is comforting to know that no matter how many promises we fail to keep, Christ always keeps his promises, and he will always be with us-- even to the end.