Friday, August 8, 2014

Self-Control: a devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22 NIV).

All of these fruits are available to you as a Christian. Do people see them in your life?  I have difficulties with self-control. I recently got a Kindle Fire for my birthday and immediately downloaded many “free” games for it. You might say I have an obsessive personality to a point and found myself playing those games all day at first. It was fun and I found myself wanting to get to a new level. I did refuse to buy virtual things to win, which is a total waste of money. Soon hours went past and there I was still sitting playing the games when my husband came home from work. I knew it was out of control when I had dreamt all night that I had to match three candies (Candy Crush) in order to save someone’s life. Needless to say, I woke up thinking that I had a problem.  Then I heard a testimony on K-Love from a woman with two masters’ degrees and was addicted to Farm-ville, which I hadn’t played yet. She said she got up in the middle of the night to feed virtual animals. ‘Wow’, I thought, ‘That is way over the top’. But then I thought about how much time I was wasting sitting there playing those games and was ashamed. It was a wake-up call for me to stop it. I had let games take over my life and the desire to get to new levels was addictive. Plus, I hadn’t read the Bible or done my Bible study because of this. That is when I repented and decided to limit my game playing.  It is so important not to let your life get caught up in other things so much that you stop serving God and others.
Self-control is a fruit of the spirit, but you must ask God to help you to do it. He alone can give you the strength to stop whatever is addictive in your life. Gaming is minor compared to other things that can be addictive, but anything that becomes more important than God is a sin.
It is serious to not have self-control. Let me share a verse about the last days that Paul wrote, “But mark this; There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV). Quite a list isn’t it? The last part really hit me, “Having a form of godliness but denying its power”.
Are you doing that?  You have the power within you to have self-control, but you must pray and ask God to help you.
Dear Lord,
Help us to have self-control in our lives so that we can be good witnesses for you. Help us to put you first in every area of our lives.
In Jesus’ name,