Read: I Corinthians 9:25-27
I discipline my body and make it serve me (I Corinthians 9:27, Berkeley Version).
The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Temperance
Perhaps Paul listed this fruit last because it is the most difficult to cultivate. Temperance is self-control. In the unsaved person it rises no higher than control of the self by the will and in the
interest of self-chosen goals. But in the sanctified life temperance is the control of self by the Holy Spirit, and this discipline is exercised in order to achieve spiritual goals. John Wesley’s mother reminded her son of the need for Christian discipline when she wrote to him, “Whatever (‘weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or ..takes off the relish of’ spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of your body over mind, that thing for you is sin.”
The battle is not only against evil; it is often against the lesser goods as well. For us who seek to live disciplined lives in the Spirit there is, as David Hin puts it, “an altar of sacrifice, unseen, but real and present… there is some physical self-sacrifice, the abandonment of some bodily indulgence… It may be less sleep… or less food, or less sexual intercourse, or less ease, or more work, or greater effort, or more unpleasant work, or more dangerous and self-denying service. But, whatever it may be (there is) a giving up which costs something, a sacrifice which implies the surrender of one’s own pleasure, ease, comfort, will.”
This readiness to discipline myself in order to better serve God is the fruit of the Spirit. We call it temperance.
Affirmation For Today
My redeemed spirit yearns for the fellowship of God more than anything else. I yield myself to the discipline of His Holy Spirit in order that I may the better know Him. That knowledge is worth move than all.