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Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is recorded in Paul's letter to the Galatians. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22-25).
Ekklesia,
Grace to you.
These are the character traits which will grow in us as we abide in Christ. There is no law which speaks against love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. When we exercise these traits, we are practicing what we have been called to become. I would like to focus on the last one in the list: temperance. The Greek word is rendered
temperace
the three times it is used in the
New Testament. Strong's says it means self-control, continence, temperance (Strong's G1466). Several translations renders it self-control. I prefer to think of it as the control of self. When we crucify the flesh with its affectations and self desires, we are exercising control of self. How important is this?
Solomon tells us that in Proverbs 25:28: "He that
hath
no rule over his own spirit is
like
a city
that is
broken down,
and
without walls." The one who will not rule his own
spirit (Strong's speaks of this Hebrew word as "spirit", "life", and "anger") (Strong's H7307). Solomon tells us that the one who will not rule over his spirit, his life, his anger (will not exercise control of self) will be like a city that is broken down and is without walls. A city without walls was open to be plundered by all that came by.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:12: "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." I have explained this to folks as almost everything is okay in moderation. Almost nothing is okay in excess. Paul did not want to be mastered by anything. Paul wanted only to be controlled by the love of Christ. He says, "For the love of Christ constraineth us . . ." (2 Corinthians 5:14).
May the love of Christ constrain us. May His Spirit produce in us the control of self so necessary to navigate through this life on earth.
Psalm 145 is one of David's psalms of praise. One of the qualities David praises the Lord for is found in verse 8: "The LORD
is
gracious, and full of compassion; slow to
anger, and of great mercy."
He is gracious - He gives us grace. He is full of compassion. He is slow to anger, and His mercy great. Perhaps that is why Solomon tells us, "
He that is
slow to anger
is
better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city" (Proverbs 16:32). When we are slow to anger, when we rule our own spirit, we are becoming like the One who created us, and saved us, and sanctifies us, and one day will glorify us.
James tells us, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" (James 1:19-20). Slow to wrath, slow to anger is to become like Him. Our wrath does not work His righteousness.
Solomon tells us, "He that
hath
no rule over his own spirit
is like
a city
that is
down,
and
without walls" (Proverbs 25:28). When we do not rule our spirit, our walls
are down, and the strong man plunders us. The control of self is necessary for our own good.
This fruit grows in us as we abide in Christ and let His word abide in us; as we see how important control of self, temperance, rule over our own spirit is. As we cry out to Him to make us slow to wrath, He will cause it to grow within us.
broken
References
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation.
Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Strong, J.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.
- a series compilation