I hope you enjoy this short video that once again stars Ivy desiring a piece of her favorite fruit, a banana. Watch as she struggles to exhibit self-control as she waits for a piece of the banana that I'm eating.
The Greek word for self-control is "egkrateia," and as the term is used by Paul in his letter to the Galatians it means "restraint of one's emotions, impulses, or desires." (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Frederick William Danker. University of Chicago Press; 1957. Pg. 274)
I don't know about you so I'll speak from my own experience here; when I've experienced a desire to do something that is unhealthy or unloving for myself or others or if I've experienced the desire for something and it simply was not the right time for it, partnering with God has made all the difference. When I seek to exhibit self-control by my own strength and initiative, I fail; but when I work through those desires with the help of God, the fruit of the Spirit called self-control finds expression in my life.
If it's true that this world could use more self-control exhibited by the people everywhere, it is equally true that I could use more self-control in my life. With the help of God, may it be so.
By the presence and power of God at work within us, may our lives become ripe with the fruit of the Spirit called self-control to guard against our every unhealthy or unloving desire for ourselves and others and to respond to every situation at the proper time and with life-giving words.
As we seek to live into community with all that has life in Jesus' name, let us pray that we all might experience self-control to guard against the selfishness and greed that too often results in the over-consumption, abandonment, and abuse of wildlife and wild spaces.
Let us pray:
Change the desires of my heart, loving God, so that it beats in tune with yours; and may the changes you're bringing about within me find expression in my living.