Devotion for Friday June 26, 2020
Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
When I attended 13th and Union Elementary School in the early 1960’s, my report card “deportment” comments often mentioned “lacks self-control”. As I recall, my behavior included crying and occasionally freaking out in class, overreacting to criticism or to other children. I have a vivid memory from kindergarten of exiting the opened double doors that led right onto 13th Street and walking the 7 blocks home because of something that upset me. My mother, of course, marched me right back with four-year-old David in tow! Thankfully, as I got older, those behaviors ebbed, by the grace of God. However, my family, friends, and former students could definitely speak to my lapses over the years!
So how do we deal with lapses or even daily weaknesses in self-control: overreacting, over-eating, over-indulging, over-spending, etc.? How do we tackle our sinful thoughts and actions regarding jealousy, gossip, anger, illicit sex, drunkenness, road rage, vulgar language? Behaviorists might suggest counting to 10, deep breathing, meditating, using a mantra, etc. But the Bible has a specific answer that involves our minds and our “walk”. Galatians 5:24-25 reminds followers of Christ:
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
First, remember whose we are! The Lord Jesus has already won the battle against sin. He has the victory, so we do too! Christ crucified means sin crucified. Jesus has overcome all of our “over” sins and all those mentioned in Galatians 5:19-20 plus all others! Next, stay close to the Holy Spirit. Confessing our sin (I John 1:9), Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with Believers are ways to do that. Listening to music that honors God and memorizing Scripture help me stay “in step” with him.
Another reason to stick close to the Holy Spirit is found in I Peter 5:8-9:
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
Satan’s goal is to destroy our testimony or to destroy us (Revelation 6:9)! And we are all his targets. We need to seriously be aware, to resist sin, to pray for each other, and to “keep in step with the Spirit”. Remember, Jesus is the Overcomer, so we are overcomers, too!