I know better than to take a pint of ice cream to the couch. I know I shouldn’t hold it in my hands until the edges get all melty. I know I shouldn’t go digging for those chocolate-covered cow tracks like they are buried treasure. I know I shouldn’t, but I still do. I lack self-control.
So where do we get the self-control we need to say no to temptation? When we could eat this or say that or dwell on this or sin like that, where can we find the power to say yes to God and no to sin?
The answer is found in Galatians 5—“The fruit of the Spirit . . . is self-control” (verses 22,23). Self-control is a fruit. It’s grown. It doesn’t just appear in our hearts. It’s grown from a root. And that root is . . . Jesus. In the next verse, Paul says that you “belong to Christ Jesus” (verse 24). You belong to Jesus. You are his child. And he adores you.
That truth is powerful enough to produce a new spiritual power in you. When you realize that you belong to Jesus—loved by the Father, accepted into heaven, invited to the feast, chosen for the kingdom, valued in the mission, and filled with the Spirit—you find a deep sense of satisfaction and joy. A contentment so deep that sin starts to lose its grip.
Self-control is, admittedly, hard to grow. But the soil of God’s love in Christ is rich enough to produce all the self-control you need.