Fruity Fridays: Passing the Self-Control Test

(Final posting in this series about the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5)

(photo credit Amber Hatch FB page)

Nothing like a hurricane to test your self-control.

Publix test…check

Wawa test…check

I-75 test…still in progress

Saving the snacks…hasn’t even started

This very real storm brings to life how many situations in our lives make us feel in our minds and emotions. So Paul may have had some intention to placing this fruit at the end of the list. If the other fruits have been produced, this one should be easier to nurture. And we need it to pass the tests of life’s storms.

When I’ve not being doing well passing the self-control test, here are a few questions I review to check myself:

  • Where’s my sensitivity level? It’s entirely possible I’m making more of this situation than it is. Making more could mean I’m taking it too personally, I’m not paying attention to common sense, or I’m playing the “what if” game way too long.
  • What assumptions might I be making? Assumptions are usually the result of lacking communication (listening, clear explanations, waiting on someone else to take the first step, etc.). In these cases, I must review what has actually been said or not said and own my role in the communication failure.
  • What do I know? It’s my responsibility in my relationships to know who I am and who they are, what triggers I have and what triggers they have. That knowledge then should be the foundation for treating the relationship with the respect and the control it needs.
  • What boundaries are being violated? This question assumes boundaries are in place; if that’s not the case, then it’s time to set them. If they are in place, I must identify my violation and own up to it, both to myself and to the one I violated.

As we go through the next few days, let’s help each other pass the self-control test. 

*I want to thank the contributors to this series-Danny Bote, Jeremy Nixon, and Eric Vorhies. We started the series October 1, 2016. Alas, we’ve finished the task. Readers, thanks for sharing the journey with us.

The Next Level (Book Review)

Thankfully, I took my time reading through this book. Bought it four years ago on recommendation, but it’s been waiting its turn. As often happens, the timing was perfect. So thanks for the recommendation, Nancy.

This book is palatable for readers of all levels, by the way. The 31 chapters, that Wilson labels days, are no longer than 8 pages. So one could move leisurely through the book if desired. Each chapter is very devotional in nature, ending with a few questions for personal meditation or for group discussion. If you are a small group leader, you should definitely consider using this book for your group.

God has good and specific purposes for the tests he gives us. 

Each day focuses on a character in the Bible and a test they passed or failed that provided a next-level opportunity in their life’s journey. What Wilson does very well is make these tests applicable to the reader’s life as well. Examples of these tests include obedience, identity, perseverance, readiness, honesty, humility, loneliness, direction and courage. Who of us have or won’t face these tests? Here are some observations from these tests:

In many ways, knowing who we are and whose we are is at the heart of every other test in our lives. 

God never wastes our pain. He uses it to draw us deeper into a relationship with him and to touch people’s lives. 

Insisting God answer our questions creates a roadblock for our faith. 

There’s a difference between saying “yes” to God and saying “yes” to people. 

We get the most joy in life when we become holders of the spotlight instead of insisting on being in the spotlight. 

Whether you read it now or it waits its turn, this book should be in your library.