We have been looking at the fruits of the Spirit for a little over a week and now we come to the last one listed, self-control.
I don't know about you, but self-control is easy for me when everything is going great, and then falls apart as soon as routines are broken and chaos ensues. There are times when my world gets shaken and suddenly I lash out with words or actions. It doesn't matter who it is. I turn into a green, rage monster and destruction happens. As I look a the scriptures God is not impressed by this behavior. Nor does God exhibit this behavior. Psalms 103:8, 145:8, 86:15; Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18; Joel 2:13; Nahum 1:3; Nehemiah 9:17; and Jonah 4:2 all speak of God or the Lord being slow to anger, and most continue by telling us He is "rich in mercy" or "abounding in love". In the book of Proverbs it tells us a "fool gives full vent to his anger" (Proverbs 29:11) and the "a man slow to anger calms strife". (Proverbs 15:18)
It makes sense then that God who Himself is slow to anger would give us His Spirit that causes us to be the same, a.k.a. self-controlled. It makes sense that God who has called us to a ministry of reconciliation would have Solomon pens words about the wise calming strife.
So self-control has to do with us being slow to anger and bringing mercy like God, however there is another side as well.
In times of isolation temptation becomes more of an issue than normal. Being out of routine, away from friends and Bible study groups, having too much extra time on your hands, becoming irritable because of all of these things... All of this can lead to a loss of self-control and giving in to temptation.
Paul tells the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 10:12, "Whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall." Peter tells us why in 1 Peter 5,
"Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, for anyone he can devour. Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world." -1 Peter 5:8-9
It's just as true today as it was in the first century A.D. when Peter and Paul first wrote these words. Our enemy is like a lion on the prowl, and in times when the gazelle or antelope are on their own they are easy pickings unless they are alert. Ears perked, eyes watching, nose in the air. We must be the same. Be serious! Be alert! Don't let down your guard, especially while you are away from those who help you to stay strong. The Devil will convince you that you are alone, but the reminder is there in 1 Peter "your fellow believers throughout the world" are fighting the same fight, and Peter also goes along to say, and I type as a prayer for all of us,
"Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little. The dominion belongs to Him forever. Amen." (1 Peter 5:10-11)
May He continue to do that for us,