Six Times You Should Have Practiced Self- Control, But Didn’t.

If you grew up in the 90’s, you lived in a world where there were (were as in past tense, as in once was, as in we live in a jacked up world now) 9 planets. Now, children, like my “11 going on 25” year old sister, are living under the notion that there are 8 planets. Jesus be a fence. Quintessentially, we too live in a world where believers acknowledge only 8 fruits of the Spirit. Unfortunately, the Pluto of the Spirit, self-control, doesn’t bear much in people’s lives.

Most people think of self-control as simply controlling one’s self. Ideally, they are right, but to a certain extent. It’s more than just that. One day at bible study, a wise guy stated, “Self-control is not sin suppression, but sin regression.”  How you like them apples? Really profound, right? Self-control is subduing and killing the flesh, not suppressing it, but walking in the Spirit. The flesh and the Spirit contradict each other, so we are urged to “crucify the flesh with its passions and desires” like our man, Jesus.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Galatians 5:16-18

Self-control is probably one of the fruits that we don’t exercise  in our everyday lives, which is weird giving that there is no law or repercussions for using it. However, without using self-control, we face the consequences of not bearing its fruits. We don’t reap a fruitful harvest and no one tastes the goodness of the Lord in our life. So what are some times that you could’ve used a little self control yourself?

1.      When breaking a fast

When fasting, if you are being faithful, you haven’t eaten since you woke up, and if you are a real OG saint, you haven't consumed any liquids or chewed on a piece of gum either. And as 6 pm draws closer and closer, we start to mentally prepare to break our fast, but the moment we do, we tend to overestimate how hungry we really are and we have the desire to compensate for all the meals we missed. Not a good idea. Just like when you try to read your bible more the next day to make up for not reading it the day before is a dead work, so is trying to make up for the missed meals when you fasted. Since when did gluttony become the result of a fast? Before you even get a meal, ask yourself, "Will I really finish all this?” Better yet, ask “Will this make my stomach hurt?” Instead, maybe kill the noise of your stomach and save some money, by opting for a lighter, smaller meal. When breaking a fast, it's best to break lightly.  

2.      When you are angry

When you get angry or upset, you just want to pop off, kirk, go ham, set it off and any other way to describe venting and voicing your opinion.  You want the other party to feel what you are feeling and hear what you have to say. Unfortunately, the only thing they are seeing is that you aren’t looking or sounding like Jesus. Just saying.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires

James 1:19-20

This is where self-control comes in. Tame your tongue and command it to speak only life. When angry, its best to be still and not make any further actions, but to evaluate the situation from both sides, but most importantly, from a heavenly perspective.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.  Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

James 3:9-12

What decision will bear fruit and glorify God? Even if you are right, the way you express it will render you as guilty as the other side because what you were going to say and do in the midst of an argument is not seasoned with salt. It has the ability to make the situation worse and can hurt the other party involved.  So let’s kill our flesh, along with our pride, and really make sure that we speak life and act like Christ, despite the situation.

3.      When you do a double take

In the word, it says:

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:28

But, what do you say to someone who not only looked once, but couldn’t resist the urge, and looked again? #FightForYourPurity. This would be the time you should use self-control and kill any lustful desires you may be harboring. By glancing a second time, you are feeding the lust inside of you. Let me warn you now, lust is a spirit with a growing appetite. Instead of looking back, repent and rebuke the spirit of lust. Declare that your eyes will be pure and holy and only see the things of the Lord. Next time I suggest you look down at your phone or pretend someone is calling you. You do it when you want to seem busy and important, why not do it again to protect your purity?

4.      When a secular song comes on

I really don’t understand how I can remember music lyrics and beats from years ago, but can’t remember Avogadro's number on an exam. That’s when I know I need the Holy Spirit. Every time I go to H&M, or a place where the target is for young folks, they love to play all the past jams. Who is behind this? It’s like they know my weakness is Kanye West’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ album. One time, I was out helping set up for an event and the tech crew decided to blast ‘Monster.’ You know where this is going, but we all know where it should have gone. I didn’t get to best part of the song aka Nikki’s bars, before I realized what I was doing and saying. I stopped dead in my tracks. Singing along to the song wasn’t glorifying the Father and it wasn’t helping my walk, but just feeding the ratchet trapaholic inside of me. Sigh. Don’t let me get started on what happens when 2 Chainz comes on. I want to keep my dignity while I still can.

5.      When talking to the person you like

I am a straight forward kind of gal. I don’t know how to flirt. I would probably say how I feel and hope that the feeling is mutual and hope that it’s Happily Ever After from then on. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world like that. When interacting with someone that you are attracted to, it’s best to practice self-control like your life depends on it—because it actually does. You don’t want to act on your flesh or these unstable hormones we call emotions. If you are not careful to guard your heart, it leaves room for the the affections to become unhealthy. We don’t need them to become perverted and for the enemy to have access to our heart. So when interacting with your potential significant other, see them for who they are: a child of God and a brother and sister in Christ. Yeah, you are in “The Friendzone”  but tis for a season.  

6. When on Social Media

    A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Luke 6:45

For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

Mark 7:21-23

Think of a season where you were going through a lot. Got it? Great. Now go to your frequently used social networks such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. Were you heavily active on social networks during that season? Did you post memes and quotes on your social networks relating to your struggle? This is what people call “a cry for help.” Only problem is that no one knows you are crying for help. When you are facing a tough time and are hurting, before sharing with the world, share it with God or an accountability partner or both!

Feeling lonely?

Don't post a meme about how singleness sucks or how you want a significant other.

Feeling rejected?

Don’t post a quote about how some people are loyal and others are not.

Not feeling beautiful?

Don't start posting selfies to receive artificial affirmation

Kill your flesh and pride by putting the phone down. Reach out to a friend  and share what is burdening you. The brethren is here to help encourage you and strengthen you in your time of need. Social media can’t do that.

Jesus came and lived on earth not as God, but as a man filled with God, and went thru all the situations we are facing. Yet, He was found sinless and blameless.

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

1st John 2:6

He did it to show us that we can do the same thing and overcome sin. So the next time your flesh wants to act up, die to yourself and walk in the Spirit, like our Lord Jesus. He already paved the way.