I don’t know where I originally heard this phrase, but I’ve been using it for years. “I learned something new today – time to go home – my day is done.” Well, here it is at 3:47 AM and in reading Bishop Barron’s reflection on the Gospel today, I was hit with two words that I’ve never heard of in my life, apposite and facticity, so I looked them up. How great is it to learn something new this early in the day? I can go back to bad and not get up until at least 5:30 AM.
Today’s blog is going to be about self-control. Of all the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit, this has to be the one I need to grab onto most in my life. Many of you who know me know that I have struggled, still struggle, with weight control. Sometime in my early 20’s my metabolism SLOWED down but my appetite did not – not a good combination. Someone asked the other day if you could have any superpower what would it be? I didn’t hesitate to answer – the metabolism I had as an 18 year old man! My lack of self-control affects a number of other fruits when I think about it…joy, peace, patience. I wish I could put my finger on what it is that drives the appetite, but it is something I struggle with on a daily basis. There isn’t a morning that goes by that I tell myself that today is the day I get this animal back in it’s cage. I pray about it every morning. But this lack of self-control is a persistent little vice. Sometime between my prayers and walking down stairs or my drive into work, I habitually end up eating food that probably wouldn’t make my doctor’s top ten recommended foods and everything seems to go downhill from there. This seems to happen on a daily basis. So, self-control is the gift I’m praying to get from the Holy Spirit.
As we’ve read and studied about the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, we’ve learned that these gifts are key to battle the forces of evil not only from the outside world, but also from our interior…Believers need self-control because the outside world and internal forces still attack (Romans 7:21-25). In order for me to be a better Christian, I have to be willing to trust in God in all things – ALL things. I recite daily the Our Father – our greatest prayer. In this prayer, I say “Give us this day our daily bread…” I need to pay heed to that line – God needs to be my first source of nutrition – not blessed Keebler or St. Nacho Cheese Doritos. My lack of self-control is a sin and I have to learn to master this fruit of the Holy Spirit. Proof of this statement is found in our lesson on Self-Control today…
One of the proofs of God’s working in our lives is the ability to control our own thoughts, words, and actions. It’s not that we are naturally weak-willed. But our fallen nature is under the influence of sin. The Bible calls it being a “slave to sin” (Romans 6:6). One definition of sin is “filling a legitimate need through illegitimate means.” Without the power of the Holy Spirit, we are incapable of knowing and choosing how best to meet our needs. Even if we knew what would be best, such as not smoking, another need, like comfort, would take precedence and enslave us again.
Without the power of the Holy Spirit…those six words really hit me in the wrong spot. My lack of self-control means that I haven’t fully accepted the power of the Holy Spirit and that, my friends, doesn’t make me happy. I don’t mean to burden you with this – my point is I am a sinner, we are all sinners and I/we need to examine our conscience DAILY and see where it is we fall short of the Kingdom. Self-Control is where I fall short. Please pray for me that I am able to battle through this internal fight; please pray that I’m able to “pick this fruit from the vine” so that I too can share in the joy of the Lord completely. Let’s end this blog on a positive note…again,, from today’s lesson.
When we are saved by Christ’s sacrifice, we are free (Galatians 5:1). That liberty includes, among other things, freedom from sin.
Please pray for my salvation as I will pray for yours.
Do something great for our Lord today.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid.
Jesus, I trust in you.