Welcome to your morning coffee! May our Heavenly Father tend to us closely today. Father, walk with us in the garden of our thoughts today. Show us to ourselves. As children, hold and guide our hands as you invite us to join you as you tend to our inner being. In the name of your son Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit, transform us from the inside until we are pouring out faithful obedience to your will. Thank you Father for your loyal loving-kindness!
Your Morning Song: "Anthem" by Phil Wickham
Your Morning Scripture: Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Self-control. What an interesting addition to "The Fruit of the Spirit." Why self-control? Is it really that important? What is it, really?
The roots of a biblical understanding of self-control is found all the way back in the beginning of Genesis. Moses, at God's wonder-full inspiration and guidance, writes (and has read aloud) to the Hebrew slaves freed from Egypt and their children. The message from God is this. You are not slaves. You are my very good creation. Your identity is just so, you are my workmanship, my doing. And I have made you to rejoice with me and worship me in true-heart rest eternally.
God created and then rested, because he knew when to say, "enough!" And so God calls us to a rest that is founded on the divinely gifted and given ability we also have to say, "enough!"
And then we continue reading. Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Why did God put THAT tree there? You know which tree I am talking about. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Why put that temptation there? Why set it up this way?
If you'd like a deeper dive into this, by all means, reach out and let us know. We'd love to dive in! But for our purposes here the plain truth is this. God put THAT tree in the garden because he wanted Adam and Eve to know that they are people, not beasts. That of all creation, only they, only humans, are made in God's image.
But what does it mean to be made in God's image? Consider how they were tempted. Satan came as a serpent. A beast. All the things that we consider to be unique to only humans he did as a beast. He reasoned. He related. He interacted in a very human-like way. And when Eve listened to him, she turned to look at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and saw that it was as the other trees had been described in chapter two when Eden was created, "pleasant to the sight and good for food." But there was another description added to her view of THAT tree in chapter three, "and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise."
Desire. As God says to Cain in the very next chapter, "..but sin is crouching at your door. It desires to have you, but you must master it."
Desire. We are not beasts. We are humans, men and women. We have the ability to say no and yes in a way beasts are fully incapable of. We are moral consciously moral creatures made in God's image, by his molding, and we are able to say, "enough!"
We are able to control ourselves, but for sin.
Jesus came, lived, died, and lived again to redeem us and to bring us into God's family, as a people marked by the ability to control themselves, to know when to rest, to know how to master their desires within themselves, and not to be mastered by them.
What about you and I? How are we doing with self-control? Are we sober-minded, Godly people who know when to say enough? Or do we act on our desires like beasts, do we binge on the beast-minded buffets baying in the darkness of our broken hearts? Technology. Entertainment. Food. Sleep. What is that one certain thing that we struggle with?
Mine is food. When my heart is hurting and I'm tired and feel like the world rests wholly on my shoulders, I want to eat to make myself feel better. With our trip to the ER recently when my wife hurt her hand badly, and then just sitting in the lobby during her surgery, I felt the deep-seeded, compulsive desire, eat.
Let the mindless doing what of you desire deliver you from this darkness.
Praise the Lord that God has so loved me as to expose my own weaknesses to me. Praise the Lord that God has shown me the face of my heart in the mirror of his word.
And so I controlled myself. Not perfectly. I most certainly have had a few Casey's donuts in the last week. But I've also eaten healthy, slept well, exercised.
Said no and yes in a grown-up, mature, Godly way. By the grace of God and the work of the Spirit within me.
And I will continue to be tempted by my desires. I will not always succeed. But as the fruit of the Spirit grows inside of me, my failures will become smaller. As I embrace faithful obedience to God's word and guard my heart instead of obeying it, my failures, smaller, will become easier to dig out, to address, to offer back to God.
And I will become more fully human according to God's design and desire, into the likeness of his son Jesus.
Let's struggle eagerly together today church! Let's deny and discipline our desires and share in God's delight at our deepening maturity through faithful obedience to his word!
Let the fruit of the Spirit grow within pour out of the garden of our thought-life!