Self-control is probably one of the hardest things to master. How often have we been defeated by a bad habit, a lousy attitude, or a wrong mindset? We make promises to improve. We ask someone to hold us accountable. But deep inside, we know that we don’t have the will or the ability to change. We can talk, we can plan, we can read self-help books, but we still find it difficult to overcome and control many of the things that are inside us!
Thankfully, God knows our weakness, and He also knows the remedy! The Bible says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23). The only way to gain self-control is by allowing the Holy Spirit to control us.
In other words, our key focus is not effort but surrender—to live moment by moment submissively trusting in the Lord rather than in self. Paul says this is what it means to “walk by the Spirit” (v. 16).
Are you ready for a change? You can change, for God is in you. As you surrender control to Him, He will help you bear the fruit of His likeness.
I am in need, Lord, of Your power so that I might change and grow. I surrender myself to You. Please help me to understand how to be submissive to You that I might be filled with Your Spirit.
God is not nearly as concerned with our ability as He is with our surrender.
Today’s passage exhorts us to “walk by the Spirit” (v. 16). Just as a surgeon operates by means of a scalpel, we are to walk by means of the Holy Spirit. We are to be consciously dependent upon Him in attitude and choices. Yet there are two spheres of influence that pull us in different directions. The term “flesh” is used to describe the old sinful way of life that seeks to live independently from God and exhibits behavior displeasing to Him. The “Spirit” refers to those behaviors that flow from the indwelling Christ and produce fruit exemplifying His character. When we walk by means of the Spirit, we can say no to the flesh and yes to the Spirit.