Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that exhibits its fruitfulness when we maintain a deep abiding relationship with Christ. As we celebrate Easter, and have now completed our Lenten sacrifices, I have to ask: How have you done with your Lenten sacrifice? Were you able to exhibit self-control and maintain your promise to Jesus in thanksgiving for the sacrifice He gave for you? Perhaps you gave something up, or perhaps you pledged to do something for others, or perhaps you elected to practice a specific virtue this Lent. Although Lent is over, you can still live up to your promise, for Jesus always gives us another chance, with each and every day that He gives us to live.
Jesus is our living example of one who bears fruit through the use of self-control. We only need to look at Matthew 4:1-11, where Matthew writes about the devil tempting Jesus three times during Jesus’ 40 days in the desert. Jesus was very hungry, but in using His intellect He outsmarted the devil by stating “Man does not live on bread alone but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4). The devil also tempted Jesus’ humanity with power and glory. However, Jesus placed His humanity in the Divine Power of God the Father, and found His glory in the will of the Father. He demonstrated self-control against all of the devil’s temptations and the devil left Him. Jesus’ demonstration of self-control bore fruit for all mankind, for it was through Jesus’ witness to resist temptations that we are encouraged to do likewise, with His assistance.
God has graced us with the means to exhibit self-control over our passions and desires. When we do so, we use our intellect to manage our temporal desires, rather than letting our desires manage us. Intuitively we rightly acknowledge when we can have too much of a good thing and need balance in our lives. It’s up to us to enact self-control as our means for bearing fruit. When we exhibit self-control we live healthier, more productive lives – the fruit of self control!
Why is it dangerous not to embrace self-control? We’ll address the answer to that question in our next reflection. Don’t miss it!