We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies and that our lives had become unmanageable.

lrd-self-control-versus-willpowerThere’s a struggle going on inside of us—a fight for control. Our willpower fails us repeatedly. Where can we turn when we realize that we can’t control ourselves?

The apostle Paul says, “Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. . . . But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:16-17, 22-23).

Self-control is not willpower. It’s not something we get by gritting our teeth and forcing ourselves to “just say no.” Self-control is called a fruit. Fruit doesn’t instantly pop out on the tree. As the tree grows and seasons pass, the fruit naturally develops. As we continue to follow God’s guidance, taking one step at a time, our self-control will naturally grow. Our job is to stay connected to God. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to produce the fruit of self-control.

As God takes control of our lives, self-control will be the natural result.

Taken from The Life Recovery Devotional copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.