“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.” ~ Psalms 1:3
This beautiful verse in Psalms says that Christians are likened to trees planted by the rivers of living water, not wild but planted. God calls us out of the world, and He plants us. The water that God provides is His spirit and nourishment is through His word, allowing our roots to grow deeply.
There are many fruits that are expected on this tree. One of the fruits is self-control. If you lack this essential fruit, this post is for you, myself included! If we are to have self control, we must remain near the source of living water.
Satan has us so very distracted today that, like the trees in fantasy movies, we can pick up our roots and follow our own hearts desires. We go where we should not wander to solve our difficulties on our own. The danger is that we walk away from our life source, the only true source of wisdom and strength to solve any difficulty in our lives and minds.
Yes, we live in a fallen world and oftentimes Satan feeds us the lie that because of the troubles of the world and our significant trials, we need more than that water. We need…. well let’s imagine some addictions to soothe our troubled minds – sugar ladened treats, alcohol, entertainment void of God’s moral laws, romantic novels which take us where we shouldn’t venture, an itching ear to hear the latest gossip, celebrity soup, on and on. We’re bombarded by thoughts of taking a “break today” to avoid the craziness. Yet, oftentimes it’s not to the living waters for a cool refreshing drink to sooth a disheartened or wearied soul that we run to. We can pick up our roots and wander over to the nearest feel-good location to empty our minds of pain or sorrow and fill it with what the world wants to us to focus on.
Where’s the first place we go for that relaxation? Do we use the spirit of self-control to find it, or are we drawn away by our own lusts and enticed by the relaxation of the world?
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” ~ James 1:14
Oftentimes we don’t choose the difficult situations in our life; yet there are times when can cause our own troubles by trying to find peace in all the wrong places because of our own lack of self-control. We live in a fallen world and there will be plenty of trials in our lives. Christ forewarned us concerning this, but He has given us living water available 24/7. He has promised that He will be there for us.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33
Remember, we’re planted. We need to stay there. The problem is that it takes self-control to stay there, where we were planted. Therein lay the catch.
What to do? What guidelines does God give us to help us with self-control? One of the first things we can do is simply to ask Him for it. God says we don’t receive because we don’t ask or we ask for the wrong reasons:
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” ~ James 4:3
For instance, we can ask God for the spirit of self-control so that we don’t overeat, but we may really want to lose weight just to look good to be accepted by the world’s standards, to look like that model in the women’s magazine and to draw attention to ourselves. Or is it our prayer to ask God for self control to be healthier so that we can serve others? The truth is, in fact, is that we need self control to glorify God being moderate in ALL things, not just food. We are here to represent our betrothed Jesus Christ, to let His light shine in us with the fruits of the spirit, one of them being self-control. We have a symbolic engagement ring for all to see, the way we conduct our lives. Do we represent and honor the One to whom we will wed? (I Titus 4:15)
Another thing to consider is when we do beseech God for the spirit of self-control, do we then totally ignore God the rest of the day, going about our own business, not bringing to mind the scriptures and taking every thought into subjection the rest of the day? We need to bring to mind His words throughout the day, where God’s spirit can remind us of the verses concerning how to utilize self-control in our daily lives. David meditated on God’s law day and night. (Psalms 119:48, 148) He was called a “man after God’s own heart.” Do we want to be the women after God’s own heart? (Acts 13:22)
Let’s ask God with a pure heart and let His spirit fill to help us make decisions in our life based on the spirit of self-control in all things.
Let’s not forget the tools God has given us to draw closer to Him, stay close to river of living waters: prayer, study, meditation on His word throughout the day. (I Titus 4:15, Philippians 4:6) When life gets tough and you feel like running to unhealthy or ungodly ways of coping, go somewhere quiet and relax and ask God to hide you under His wings and shelter you. (Ruth 2:12) Ask God then to fill you with His spirit, the spirit of self-control. Then we can make the decisions in our lives that won’t draw us into an addictive lifestyle. Place scriptures cards around your home in plain sight to remind you of His promises and His way of life. Listen to CDs of sermons while driving to and from activities. Place your Bible where you habitually sit and relax. Stay planted by the riverside. Make God’s living waters a priority, so that your roots can strengthened and let them stretch deeply into the soil that God has planted you in. Soak up the pure living water throughout the entire day. Only then can we find real peace and joy in life and bear the fruits of the spirit, and one of them self control.
Our lives are important to God and He has a plan for each and everyone of us, to become literal sons and daughters in His family. He gives us of His very own spirit, so we can be grow up with His characteristics, one being that of self-control.
To find out more of God’s purpose for you, please see our booklet “What is Your Destiny?”