This week at SALT it was Ruth's turn to set the challenge and she choose a weighty matter...self control. You can read Ruth's write up on the SALT blog. According to the book of Galatians, self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit. If I understand the text correctly it means that if I claim to belong to Christ then I should be living in the way described. That's an idea that one could ponder for days, examining ourselves to determine if we regularly live up to this call. I, for one, know that I do not live this way as often as I should nor am I able to - outside of Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit in my life. The referenced verse is below:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25
I suspect that having children is one of the tools that God uses to point out our shortcomings, especially when you have a child who mirrors your personality flaws. It is beyond humbling to correct your children for the very thing that you tend to do. I am constantly reminded, when struggling with the difficulties of raising two young children, of what Christ offers. Has He not been longsuffering in dealing with my rebellion, self-controlled in allowing me to have more time on this earth and not harshly reprimanding me every time I err, and loving in that He died for me while I was fully emerged in a lifestyle that was contrary to His commands. Those truths are a help when correcting a child who has thrown a toy across a room in frustration for haven't I, in spirit, thrown my own toy across a room when something doesn't go my way. Perhaps even more sinful for me as I'm an adult and know more. My lack of control because things aren't going my way is a shaking of the fist at God for not giving me what I want when I want it. It's a shameful way to react towards the One who created us and sustains us each and every day.
In our natural state no one is able to live a Spirit filled life. Self-control will be lacking in many areas; overeating, drinking in access, cursing in God's name, anger...the list goes on. Without Christ, we unable to "fix" all these areas of our lives and, in our own power, begin to live in a loving, joyful way where we're longsuffering towards mankind and controlled in our emotions and behaviors. Once we've trusted in what Christ accomplished on the cross, making a way to be free from our damaging sins, we will continue to struggle with bringing certain behaviors under control. The only difference between these two? The one who is trusting in Christ is heartbroken when we respond in an angry or selfish way to those around us. We have disappointed Christ and grieved the Holy Spirit and we will be quick to repent and apologize to those we've hurt. Whereas the unconverted will feel justified in their reactions, no matter how hurtful, never seeking Christ or others for forgiveness and help. And yet...there is great hope. One needs only to call upon the name of Christ to be free from living a sinful, self absorbed life. Evidence that we love Christ can be seen when we regularly exhibit the fruits of the Spirit...not when we're perfect, for that won't happen here on earth...but when our every day experience begins to more and more mirror Paul's call to the Galatian church, to put to death our sinful passions and desires and to walk in the Spirit.Since I've been on a black and cream kick, I decided to continue that trend with today's card. This is a 4x4" card created with a retired Stampin' Up! image, black cardstock, and brads. The polka dot/stripe paper is that fabulous Crate paper, and the ribbon is a random scrap that I had in my stash. The Bible scripture text used on the card was created by photocopying a page in my Bible and then aging the daylights out of it. I've used a red rub on to highlight the "fruit of the Spirit and self control" text. The pear was stamped twice and embossed with black embossing powder before I colored the image with Copics. I then cut out one of the pears and attached it to the first with dimensional tape. I also used my brand new white gel pen to add a few highlights to the pear. Enjoy your day!