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Juicy Fruit Sermon Series // Part 9

Fruit of the Spirit // Self-Control

Galatians 5:16-25 NLT

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

We’ve come a long way over the past nine weeks. My constant prayer has been that our hearts would be open to the Holy Spirit.

  • That we would see that whatever the circumstance, He is at work developing this fruit in our lives.
  • And that we understand that fruit development is an ongoing process that we engage in as Christ-followers.

Today, we look at what I believe to be the key that keeps this process going. Self-control.

  • It is true that the greatest hindrance to my spiritual development is not my enemies, not my circumstances, not my job; it is me. I am my biggest problem!
  • I’m pretty confident that there are a lot of us in this place today who feel, more often than we’d like to admit, out of control. We so often feel overwhelmed by circumstances and pressures of life.
  • Proverbs 25:28 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”
  • Let me make a couple of statements upfront here. Here are a couple of truths you and I really need to remember.
  • Without self-discipline, you are very unlikely to achieve anything of lasting value.

Paul realized this and said,

I Corinthians 9:25-26 NLT

All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.

Without self-control, we cannot and will not mature in our relationship with Jesus. To grow spiritually requires us to control ourselves and our passions and our drives. That’s why I reread to you today the passions of the flesh and the result of yielding to the Holy Spirit.

Now, as I’ve tried to do throughout this series, I want to share the “what now” of this message.

If you want to position yourself for the Holy Spirit to develop this fruit of self-control, you begin here:

1. Assume responsibility.

A. James 1:14 says, “A man’s temptation is due to the pull of his own inward desires, which can be enormously attractive” (Phillips).

B. This is eye-opening. We do what we do because we like to.

When I do something that is bad for me, I do it because I like to do it. I want to do it. It is an inner desire.

C. This is a big deal, church, because we try to ignore it and rationalize and pretend or blame. But we do what we do because we like to. Maybe it’s easier or simpler or whatever.

But if you want to change, really change, you’ve got to start by being honest.

2. Put your past behind you.

  • Paul says, “Forgetting what is behind and straining for what is ahead, I press on toward the goal.”
  • The devil will tell you that “once a failure, always a failure.”
  • Or “I’ve tried to quit this habit. I’ve given it up dozens of times. I just can’t do it.”
  • Listen please, failure in the past does not mean you will never be able to change. But I promise you this, if you keep focusing on your failures, you’re bound to repeat them.
  • Here’s the truth. God wants you to excel. God wants you to live a life of significance.
  • The devil wants you to give up. The devil wants you to accept mediocrity as your lot in life.
  • And I want you to know therein lies the battle.
  • The flesh vs. the Spirit of God. And you get to choose. And you’re going to fall. And you’re going to fail. But you’re not dead. It’s not over. Your future doesn’t have to be defined by your past.
  • Get a grip! Take control one step at a time.
  • Thomas Edison ran into problems in his inventions over and over. He once said, “Don’t call it a failure, call it education! Now you know what doesn’t work!”
  • Oh church, we’ve got a lot of PhD’s in this church! We’ve got experts at what won’t work. But let me tell you what does. “I can do all things…” Phil 4:13.
  • Are you still with me? You want discipline? Want self-control? Want to get it together? Tired of up one day and down the next?
  • How about this?

3. Talk back to your feelings.

  • We put far too much emphasis on our feelings.
  • I don’t feel like reading my Bible today.
  • I don’t feel like going to church.
  • I don’t feel like exercising.

And on the flip side,

  • I feel like another trip to the buffet.
  • I feel like another drink.
  • I feel like doing nothing.
  • Talk back to your feelings. Feelings are a mind game after all. What you let control your mind controls you.
  • Titus 2:11-12 NIV says: 
    For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, God’s grace gives you the power to say, “No.” God’s grace gives you the ability to say “no” to that desire, to that feeling, to that impulse.
  • My body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6:19-20).
  • Often, I don’t feel like exercising. And I will say to myself, “Body – get in line with the Word of God. I will honor God with my body.”
  • I’ve set goals in running and invariably during that first mile I’m thinking, “Why are you doing this? Just go home. This is hard. You’re crazy. You don’t have to do this.”
  • And I’ve actually yelled on a run, “Shut up, mind. Shut up, body. I’ll run further than I planned if this continues!”
  • Call me crazy. Say I’m goofy. But I ask you, “How bad do you want to change? How much do you want to live a life of freedom? How much do you want it?”
  • Then go for it! Press on! Do what you have to do to be self-controlled.

And finally,

  • Lean on Jesus.
  • Galatians 5:16 NLT says, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”
  • By now we’ve got to know that God is for us.

He sent the Holy Spirit to

  • Fill us
  • Comfort us
  • Guide us
  • Teach us
  • Develop us
  • Empower us
  • Anoint us
  • Gift us
  • And make us alive in Christ Jesus
  • Lean on Jesus
  • I cannot tell you how many times people have said things to me like, “I’m going to get control of my drinking, or running around on my spouse, or get my life together, then I’ll come back to church.”
  • How crazy would it be if I was sick and said, “When I get better I’m going to see the doctor”? Or, “When I’m better I’m going to take the medicine”?
  • But that’s the way we do God. Or “I’m not good enough. God can’t help me ‘cause of all I’ve done.”
  • That just isn’t true. It’s the furthest thing from truth. Come as you are. Lean on Him. Give Him a chance. He’ll help you. He promised that anyone who comes to Him, He’ll not cast away.
  • Come to Him. Lean on Him today.

Worship Set

Blessed Assurance (My King Is Coming)

- Pete Kipley and Matthew West

Verse 1

Blessed assurance Jesus is mine
Oh what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation purchase of God
Born of His Spirit and washed in His blood

Chorus 1

This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Verse 2

Perfect submission all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blessed
Watching and waiting looking above
Filled with His goodness and lost in His love

Misc 1 (Bridge)

My King is coming soon
He will roll the clouds away
Light of heaven bursting through
Oh what a glorious day

Misc 2 (Bridge)

My King is coming soon
He will roll the clouds away
Light of heaven bursting through
(And) Until the glorious day

Misc 3 (Interlude)

This is my story this is my song

Misc 4 (Ending)

This is my story
This is my story this is my song

I Never Lost My Praise 

- Kurt Carr

I've lost some good friends along life's way
Some loved ones departed in Heaven to stay
But thank God I didn't lose everything

I've lost faith in people who said they cared
In the time of my crisis they were never there
But in my disappointment
In my season of pain
One thing never wavered
One thing never changed

I never lost my hope
I never lost my joy
I never lost my faith
Most of all I never lost my praise

My praise still here
My praise still here

I let some blessings slip away
And I lost my focus and went astray
But thank God I didn't lose everything

I lost possessions that were so dear
And I've lost some battles by walking in fear
But in the midst of my struggles
In my season of pain
One thing never wavered
One thing never changed

Praise praise praise

Most of all I never lost my praise
My praise still here
My praise still here

Great I Am 

- Jared Anderson

Verse 1

I wanna be close, close to Your side
So Heaven is real and death is a lie
I wanna hear voices of angels above
Singing as one

Chorus 1

Hallelujah holy holy
God Almighty great I Am
Who is worthy none beside Thee
God Almighty great I Am

Verse 2

I wanna be near, near to Your heart
Loving the world hating the dark
I wanna see dry bones living again
Singing as one

Misc 1 (Bridge)

The mountains shake before You
The demons run and flee
At the mention of Your name King of majesty
There is no pow'r in hell or any who can stand
Before the power and the Presence of the great I Am
The great I Am (5X)