This is a guest post from my dear friend and mentor Asher Intrater, leader of Revive Israel/Tikkun International. We often fear messages about self control, because we see it as ‘human effort’. But see the smile on God’s face when you say no to the flesh and yes to the Holy Spirit. There is grace for this. More and more I see that self-control regarding our appetites is a major key to spiritual power. Don’t be afraid to read and embrace. We love and bless you!
How we love the fruit of the spirit! – love and joy and all that good stuff. It is the very personality of God within us. There’s one fruit of the spirit at the end that seems to be less talked about: self-control. We could call it the Final Fruit.
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, generosity, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self-control… – Galatians 5:22
Perhaps people are less attracted to this fruit because it demands saying “no” a little bit. It means saying “no” to our own desires, or at least restraining them to a certain degree. But this fruit is quite important.
Yeshua received the power of the Holy Spirit, primarily by saying “no” three times to the devil (Luke 4:1-14). Self-control is about saying “no” to ourselves. It is similar to “denying ourselves” (Luke 9:33). It means guarding our minds so that dark thoughts don’t come in at any time (II Corinthians 10:3-5; Philippians 4:4-8). It is keeping the door closed to anything that would give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:25-29).
We receive every blessing by grace because Yeshua was crucified FOR us. At the same time, God calls us to live as if we are crucified WITH Him.
I am crucified with Messiah, and I no longer live, but the Messiah lives in me. The life I live now in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. – Galatians 2:22
We call this the crucified life. It is our response to His being crucified for us. We are not actually crucified physically. We live daily “as if” we are crucified. Self-crucifixion is a spiritual parable. On a day-to-day basis I exercise self-restraint over natural desires. The fruit of self-control is the way we live out the idea of being crucified with Him.
When the Lord wants to bless us, there is first a period of self-control. Sometimes this period is one minute, sometimes one year. Often it seems like forever. Self-control is needed before the blessing, during the blessing and after the blessing.