By Kelly Carr
Self-control—does anyone have it all the time? Doubtful. Just when I feel confident that I have a handle on a temptation, Bam—I’m blindsided with the desire to go back to old habits. What? I thought I’d mastered that!
Take, for instance, my current state of mind. Here I am, late afternoon, and my mind says: I need another cold coffee from the stash in the fridge. It would taste really good right now.
Then another part of my brain says: Remember what happened last time? You drank the coffee late in the day and then were so wired you couldn’t fall asleep. Resist! Save it till tomorrow!
The conversation sidles back and forth. Now I’m sheepishly sitting with a coffee in hand, loving the taste but knowing I’ll regret it at 1:00 a.m. Sigh.
On a Freakonomics Radio podcast, I listened to a discussion about the research equating self-control with patience. Ayelet Fishbach, Professor of Behavioral Science and Marketing at the University of Chicago, said studies show that people who are patient and exhibit self-control have much success in life—overcoming bad habits, advancing in their careers, maintaining their marriages. She said patience and self-control are more important to success than high IQ.
As we’ve seen with other fruits of the Spirit, it’s interesting that these two intertwine and are mentioned together even in secular research. Truly God’s Spirit works in harmony in our lives to develop us into better people. I hope something in one of our articles this week will give you encouragement in your own development of self-control.
As this draws our nine-week series to a close, I hope it has been a fruitful study for you (pun intended!). May you view the nine characteristics of Galatians 5 in a new light and reflect on your need to daily commit yourself to the Spirit’s guidance. The resulting harvest will be nourishing to you and to those around you.