the fruit of "no"

For our recent vacation, I burned us an MP3 cd full of podcasts.  Many of them were preaching or lecture/interviews with authors I enjoy.  Many of them were on parenting, or specifically for dads or moms.  Then there were a few in there just for fun…I think at least one old Fibber McGee and Molly episode. 🙂

One of the talks was by Susie Larson, who has recently written a book called “Growing Grateful Kids”, which is also the title of her talk.  She had some very good things to say (much better than her other message on the same cd about “Release” or something like that….whew).  One of the things that stood out was something I’ve thought about in other areas lately also…the topic of self-discipline.

So many places in scripture talk about the important of “self-control”.  It’s one of the fruits of the Spirit, and it’s also one of the four Cardinal Virtues popular in Greek philosophy.  Something that has been talked about and sought after for centuries.

But seems, even in circles of those following Christ, to be a very quietly pursued virtue/fruit.

Lately it seems like, and I’m sure it’s nothing new really, we try to find more and more ways to make something permissible rather than to deny ourselves.  Yet, if the only thing we ever deny ourselves is when a law or a commandment in scripture demands it of us….do we really experience self-control?  When is the last time you told yourself no…but because of a rigid diet, not because you’re committed to something else, and not because someone else imposed restrictions or recommendations on you….but simply to experience sacrifice?

In her talk, Susie brought up an older child who had been raised by his parent to make sure other “things” weren’t in control of their life.  At one point the young man tells his mom he’s decided (not associated with Lent) to give up Computers for a while, because they were demanding too much of his life, and seemed to be “controlling” more than they should.

It seems like a good way to practice, develop, and strengthen our “self-control” would be to deny ourselves something on a regular basis.  Not something we should say no to, either.  But something we could very easily say yes to, and probably even want to say yes to.  May we find and exercise some self-control today, in the name of Jesus…and may our decision bear His fruit. 🙂

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