Dear Church Family and Community,
When the Spirit planted the seeds of our current sermon series in my head/heart, my hope was for us to use this time to be intentionally growing in our faith, walk with God, and witness to our world. Growing Season (Fruit of the Spirit) was another chance to ask ourselves…how are we growing in love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? How are we becoming more like Christ? And how are we bearing fruit for God’s kingdom?
Matthew Henry, in his commentary which was written in 1710 AD, reminds us that the fruit of the Spirit has a tendency to make Christians agreeable to one another and to themselves. On the contrary, Henry also shares that the works of the flesh (previously listed in the same chapter of Galatians) hurt the individual and others as well. Here at HBIC, we often talk about living and loving like Christ lived and loved. One way I’ve learned to help me measure that is to ask myself, is how I’m living, what I’m saying, and what I’m doing helping or hurting those around me?
I love that by growing in the fruit of the Spirit, we become more and more like Christ. I love that growing in the Spirit matures and grows us individually. I love that our growth in love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control also blesses our world. My prayer as we prepare to end this sermon series, is that “growing season” will mark all of our days. This is work not just for our current season, but for every season we’re blessed with breath on this side of heaven.
Our focus this week will be on the last of the fruit of the spirit, self-control. Growing up, this placement has always stumped me. My earliest caregivers and teachers will tell you that was probably because I was always a ball of energy and getting into any and everything. I will tell you however, that just maybe…it is because self-control always seemed to be almost foundational to most of the other fruit. How can we love well, without self-control? Joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc., without self-control, may be more harmful than good.
But what is self-control? Just breaking down the word, we can see that it’s the ability to control one self, particularly in one’s emotions, desires, or behavior. Self-control is not simply governing your actions though; it is a disciplined approach that bears fruit. Our ability to act calmly helps us to bring peace. Our ability to think before we act helps us to make better decisions. Our self-control groomed by God’s work in us helps us to better help others, and even ourselves.
There were many stories of self-control that I could’ve chosen for this week’s sermon. However, in thinking about how I’ve grown in self-control from childhood, I went with one of the biblical stories I most liked as a child…Daniel, in the den of the lions. To prepare for this week’s service, I’d like to invite you to read and pray through Daniel 6. As you read, think about the following questions:
What would it be like, to be in Daniel’s shoes? What anxieties would you feel? How would self-control help Daniel in the den of lions? How does Daniel’s life prepare him for this moment?
Sisters and brothers, we live in a world that can often be described as out of control. We sometimes lead lives that can be described the same way. Yet even in this, our God calls us to bear fruit, and live by the Spirit. One way we live by the Spirit is to grow in self-control, not only for ourselves…but for the world around us.
My prayer is that in all things, we can turn to God. In a world out of control, God is our peace. With lives out of control, God is our peace. In all things, God is our peace.
God bless you all.
Love in Christ,
Pastor Hank (1 Chronicles 16:34)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104