Ephesians 4:26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.
God has made it clear that He doesn’t want us to act in anger. Instead, He wants us to act in righteousness, just as He is righteous. He wants us to follow the example set by our Lord Jesus Christ. No one person who has ever lied has so exemplified temperament. Insulted, spat upon. mocked – and that was all before He was tried and hung on a cross – and yet this Man did not act out in anger. How can this be? How was Jesus able to be angry and not sin? And what’s more; how can we follow this example?
Jesus had inside knowledge. He was in on the Father’s ways. You see, Jesus understood that all acting out of anger accomplishes is more anger. He knew that there was no situation so big that God would not handle it. He also understood the importance of relationships.
It’s just not worth it to act out of anger. It’s not worth hurt relationships and it’s not worth showing a bad example of a Christ follower to those who may have their eyes on us. If we trust God, we can let Him be the administrator of justice. We can believe that He will take care of the situation that caused us anger in the first place.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the spirit is…self-control
“I can’t believe I did it again.” How many times have we all found ourselves in the situation that leads to such a thought? We tried to control ourselves, but that one thing that just always seems to creep back into our lives overtook our willpower once again. Yes, we gave in to temptation.
It’s a likely scenario, both for the nonbeliever and the Christ follower. It can be very difficult to keep our fleshly urges under control, whether those urges are overeating, lusting, drinking heavily, cheating, stealing, lying, or any other number of sins. The difference between us and those who are not redeemed by the blood of Christ through accepting His gift of salvation, is that we have been granted power above what we are humanly capable of possessing. We are not impotent to change our situation. We have the Holy Spirit working in us.
In the matter of self-control, the name given to this trait referenced in the Fruit of the Spirit scripture may be a bit of a misnomer. For it is not really “self” control that we possess, so much as it is “Spirit-control”. We have been given the ability to restrain ourselves through the help of the Holy Spirit living within us, as believers. We are told in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians that “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” That one passage is reason enough to believe that we are quite capable of bearing the fruit of self-control in our lives.
Self-control is not about trying our hardest not to sin. Rather, self-control, like the other Fruit of the Spirit, is attained through submission of our lives to the leading of the Holy Spirit.