Friday, October 12, 2012



Last Sunday we wrapped up our series on the Fruit of the Spirit with a discussion about self-control. Throughout this series we have discussed the importance of understanding that these are the fruits of the Spirit living inside of you — not YOUR fruit.  We talked about how we have 3 votes for each decision we make…the Spirit, which is in line with God’s word, the flesh, which always votes against God’s word, and our soul, the deciding vote.   So it’s our soul we need to train to choose the things of God and let His Spirit flow through us to move us toward the Spirit in our decisions.  Titus 2:11 is one verse we have been focusing on in regard to this.   God’s grace erases our mistakes and at the same time teaches us to say no to ungodliness so we can experience all the blessings God wants us to have in our lives.


The Greek word for self-control (or temperance) throughout the New Testament is engkrateia — which means "virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites. In essence, what it means is that we allow the Spirit to have it's desires instead of the desires of our flesh.


When you break down the word engkrateia, you also find it is made of of two Greek words. The first is en, which means "in" and second is kratos, which means "power or strength."  Kratos is also the world used for democracy.  So, from a human standpoint, self-control is inner strength. But we know that God sees it as more than just will power. Your will can't withstand all temptations, but the Spirit can! To be successful your self-control cannot simply be self controlling self. It needs to be Spirit controlling self.


Acts 1:8 Jesus tells us that there is a power coming, in the Holy Spirit, when we are born-again. In Acts 2:38 we are told it is a gift that comes as part of salvation. You were unable to overcome certain dangerous temptations in your life before you were born again. But, because you now have the Spirit in you, you DO have the power to overcome ANY temptation.  You may not be tempted by sexual immorality or the love of money. But you may be tempted by the desires of your stomach. Whatever the temptation is, there is power inside of you to say "no" to it (Titus 2:11-13).   Self-control is basically about letting the soul decide to submit to the Spirit’s leading.  The power and all the self-control we need is inside us, but we have to pull on and receive God’s grace to access it.


We discussed the three steps to operating in self-control. 


1) Take responsibility for your own life, thoughts and actions. Stop blaming everyone else! The devil didn't make you do it. He can't make you do anything. He can make suggestions, but you choose. Exercise self-control and resist his suggestions. God chooses not to make you do anything either. He directs you to His truth, and you must choose to submit to it.  We also don’t want to exalt ourselves and think that because we avoid “big sins,” we have a lot of self-control.  If you don’t have a desire in an area, you are not exhibiting self-control.  Instead, we need to seek to submit more and more to the Spirit each day.


2) Permit the Spirit in us to do His work.


3) We must do all we CAN do to resist, and let the Spirit do what we can't. 1 Corinthians 10:13-14 (one of the most frequently misquoted scriptures in the Bible) says that God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can withstand. It does not say God will not put more on you that you can handle as is often stated. James 1:13-14 tells us God is NOT the tempter. He is promising us that there is no temptation that will come your way that, if you allow the Spirit in you to work, you can't resist.


The other part we should do is FLEE from sinful situations. Don't set yourself up for failure by going where you know you will be tempted, reading or looking at what you know will tempt you, or being around people who will lead you toward temptation. If you are trying to take better care of your body for God's glory, stop going to McDonald's for lunch. Flee those things. Give yourself a fighting chance!

To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media. To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit


To listen to the entire sermon go to and click on online media. To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit