There’s something defeating about not being able to control yourself.

This goes for anger, lust, words spoken in haste (for whatever reason), self-pity, any of those carnal desires harbouring in our hearts.

Truly, we’re either mastered by our emotions, appetites, the circumstances around us or we are centred
in who we are in Christ, knowing our weaknesses and mastering our sinful nature.

This doesn’t mean we’re perfect.

In Romans 7, Paul aptly describes the struggle to master our sinful nature. There are moments—trust me, I know—when that sinful nature just rages against us! But the following chapter, Romans 8, is the great anthem of Christian victory in Christ.

Here, Paul emphasizes our triumph in Christ. We can master our sin so that it doesn’t dictate how we feel and how we behave.

We no longer have to react to this world, the people and the circumstance but rather, in Christ and
through the Holy Spirit, we’re equipped to respond in a godly manner, being the salt and light of the
earth, loving our enemies and praising and thanking God even in trial and suffering.

But, clearly, if you’re human like me, this isn’t easy. There’s a reason why it’s the last characteristic on
the list for the Fruit of the Spirit and that’s why we’re called to die to ourselves. It’s a repeated
emphatical theme in Paul’s writings to the Early Church, e.g. 1 Corinthians 15:31, 2 Corinthians 5:17,
Galatians 2:20, Romans 12:1, Colossians 3:3.

And when we die to ourselves and our carnal desires, we’re truly free to be like Christ. This is the
endgame of self control—that, as we intentionally pursue Christ, not being mastered by sin but rather
being master over it, we are self-controlled, and driven by His holiness purpose and nothing else.

In our self-controlled and intentional pursuit of Him, ultimately, we become more like Him.

May we stay in step with the Spirit, growing and bearing His fruit to be more like Him everyday.