Supernatural self-control

By Dave Henning / September 21, 2014

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”- Galatians 5:22

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”- C. T. Studd

In Chapter 15 (“Thirty Pieces of Silver”) of All In, author Mark Batterson cites a 1972 Stanford University study, popularly known as the marshmallow test.  In that study, children ages four to six were offered a single marshmallow.  But if the child could resist temptation to immediately eat the marshmallow, he or she was promised a second marshmallow.  The net result: delayed gratification is a powerful indicator of success in any future endeavor.

The biblical word for such supernatural self-control is exousia.  It is the last fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22.  Exousia refers to the willpower not to do the things we have the ability to do.  It’s living for Christ, not for the here and now.

Judas, the author notes, was a one-marshmallow guy.  He didn’t just sell out through his betrayal of Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and his systematic thievery of the disciples’ moneybag.  Judas never bought in.  And, just like Judas, Mark adds, “we sell out for so little instead of going all in for so much.”  C. S. Lewis (The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses) describes this tendency:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong but too weak. . . . We are far too easily pleased.”

Today’s question: How has the Lord strengthened your self-control following your vocation loss?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Eternal treasure”

About the author

Dave Henning

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