Monday, June 27, 2011
Fruit Worth Growing
It was a good feeling. Getting our financial information plugged into a new program that offered both budgeting tools, and goals for future wealth management. Knowing how our money is being spent gives us the opportunity to evaluate where changes need to be made. Oddly enough, although I sometimes fight against the discipline of tracking our spending, ultimately, it frees us up to set goals for future spending.
Early next year, we're considering taking a mission trip. I'm excited! We know approximately how much the trip will cost. We plan to save some money for this adventure. Being willing to spend less of our discretionary income will be much easier with this goal in mind. Self-control will play a key role.
Self-control is defined as "the act, power, or habit of having one's faculties or energies under control of the will," (Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary, Vol. 1). Truth be told, it's a fruit of the Spirit. The Apostle Paul writes, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (self control): against such there is no law," (Galatians 5:22-23; KJV; italics mine).
Self-control is an important characteristic to display not only in financial matters, but in all areas of life. Since it's a fruit of the Spirit, it's vitally important that I stay in tune with Him. How do I do this? Again, the Apostle Paul, writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, shares the answer: "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh," (Galatians 5:16). To walk in the Spirit, I need to be willing to submit to His ways.
When I struggle with self-control, I'm battling my natural desires and tendencies. My thoughts center around what I want now, and I forget about others and the more important long-term goals. Selfishness is evident, drawing attention to me - rather than self-control, pointing to the Spirit of God.
Self-control doesn't just happen. It's something that needs to be pursued. A discipline that needs to be developed. As an avid exerciser, I realize that in order to be fit, I need to develop both my muscles and my cardiovascular system. Just thinking about exercising is of no benefit. I actually have to put myself through some type of exercise routine to achieve my goal of being fit. The same is true for self-control. I need to practice implementing discipline in my life in order to see growth in this area. Paul puts it into perspective, "...and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come," (1 Timothy 4:7b-8).
The fruit of the Spirit develops as I allow Him to work in my life. The right elements cause it to 'ripen:' reading God's Word, praying, submitting to God's will. When I choose to use these tools for growth, self-control will be evident in my life!
How are you doing in the area of self-control? What step will you take today to make this fruit of the Spirit evident in your life?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. Help me to submit to Your will so self-control will be evident in my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.