And Self -Control...

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5: 22-23, NLT)

There I was, sitting at my desk minding my own business. I was doing my morning routine - catching up on emails and skimming facebook statuses and such. I noticed one of my friends posted Galatians 5:22-26. Now I've read it a million times before - most of us have. I can practically say it by heart. Today, however, something jumped out at me like it never has before - and self-control.

Like I said, I've read this verse before. I even have it underlined in a few of my Bibles. This time though, those three words stopped me in my tracks. Up to this point, I was able to skim quickly past them unscathed. I mean, I saw them, I knew they were part of the verse, but basically ignored them because of what they implied to me. That is, I ignored them until they leapt off the page today and hit me right between the eyes!

From what I understand the verse is talking about fruit that are produced in my life as a result of Holy Spirit living inside of me. Because I am such a one-track-minded creature, I see it as a progression of fruit produced in my life over time as opposed something that happens all at once. In other words, each of the fruit, once it is manifested in my life, moves me on to the next process so the next fruit can be developed and so on.

I'll be totally honest here though, I love the idea of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness being produced in my life... self-control however, not so much. It's ugly, I know,  but it's the truth. The reason is that self-control sounds too much like work! It conjures up images of discomfort and inconvenience like fasting in sackcloth and ashes for days on end, or giving up Grey's Anatomy, or something equally "unappealing!" It's negative connotation in my mind and ranks right up there with [gulp] discipline! Both are the work of Holy Spirit, but my participation is also required and, being a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal, I'm not sure how I feel about that...  Don't get me wrong, I know they are meant to help me and they are good for me, but so are beets and I'm not a fan of those either!

I recall a sermon I heard once when I was in college where the preacher presented the gospel, then asked the question, "So now, what are you going to do with Jesus?" Today, I feel like the Word is asking me a similar question, "So now, what are you going to do with self-control?" My flesh would like to reply, "Not a thing, thankyouverymuch," but I know that won't fly. I have sensed for a while now that I am moving into a new phase in my faith where more things, new things, are going to be asked of me that will require both discipline and self-control. So my choices then are: a) to hold my nose and "eat the beets" but hate/fight the process, or b) allow Holy Spirit to change my perception and embrace what he wants to do in and through me. I choose option B of course, and I just believe God to fill in the gaps that need filling - Oh and there ARE gaps!

Beloved, I don't know what has jumped out at you recently; what is asking for more than you feel ready to give. I don't know what process God is wanting to work in your life. I do know that resistance only prolongs our struggle. I know that the God we serve sees the big picture, and what He wants to accomplish is beyond just us. Will you submit to His process even if you're not at 100% buy-in yet? Will you trust Him to get you there? You're not alone. We can surrender together and watch God do things that eyes haven't seen and ears haven't heard in and through us.

Have a blessed day!