This series started with love and ends with self-control. I once heard a preacher say that love and self-control are like bookends that hold all the other fruit in place. Love gives us the sincerity to walk in the fruit. And self-control enables us to walk in the fruit. Without love and self-control it’s impossible for the other fruit to develop.
2 Timothy 1:7 says that God has given us a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. How do we use God’s power to walk in self-control in our marriages? When a situation arises we have two choices: We can follow our feelings (our flesh). Or we can follow the Holy Spirit.
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
God has given us His Spirit to warn us and lead us out of temptations. God never leaves us to struggle in our temptations. He always provides a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). When a situation arises we need to be alert and look for God’s way out and take it.
Most altercations in our marriages don’t start out of nothing. A fire doesn’t start without a spark. The spark is the little things we do that lead up to the altercations. We need to be alert in the little things and take God’s way out to prevent us from starting a fire.
The altercations I have with my husband usually start with a thought. For example, if we are getting ready to go somewhere and he’s taking his time, doing his own thing, and I’m left to get our kids ready, I can easily fall into negative thinking. If I allow myself to complain in my mind I will start to get an attitude. Then, once I have an attitude, I will start making rude remarks, which sparks his attitude. The fuel from our attitudes then ignites the fire which spreads into a raging quarrel.
Whenever we are in a quarrel, I can always look back and recognize the opportunities to take God’s way out and prevent it.
In my example, I could stop it from the start by casting down the negative thoughts. Instead of thinking he never helps me, I could kindly ask for his help. A lot of times our spouses will respond to our needs if we are kind with our requests.
If I don’t stop it at the thought, I could stop myself from throwing out rude remarks. Instead, I could speak positive words, which would help change my attitude and change my thinking.
If I didn’t stop the negative thoughts or rude remarks, I could still stop the fight by humbling myself and apologizing. A sincere apology is a great fire extinguisher. Many times, it puts out the fire instantly.
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
It’s not wrong to feel anger toward our spouses. It’s wrong when we hold on to our anger and lash out at our spouses. Instead, we need to use self-control and give the offenses over to God. When we hold on to anger it builds up and eventually makes its way out. But when we give the offenses to God it keeps our hearts free from bitterness and keeps our emotions under control.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
—1 Peter 5:6-10
God gives us self-control to stand against Satan’s attacks. Satan will try anything to tempt us to sin because he knows sin blinds us. The more we give in to our flesh the more we blind ourselves from his deception.
Satan wants us blind so he can slither his way in and work to destroy our marriages. First Thessalonians 5:6 says, “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.” As we humble ourselves to God, we stay alert so we can use self-control and not give into temptations. The more we walk in self-control the stronger we’ll be to stand against Satan’s attacks.
Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.
We don’t lack anything in Christ. God has given us everything we need in life. The walls of our marriages will be strong to stand against the enemy’s attacks when we use what God’s given us. We need to do our part and fight for our marriages and not let the enemy defeat us. When we do our part God will take care of the rest.
Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
1 Corinthians 9:25, NASB
Thank you for following this series! I pray these posts encouraged you to draw closer to Jesus. Apart from Him we can do nothing. But in Him we can do all things. He is truly the only way to develop the fruit we need to enjoy an abundant marriage.
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.