The Parenting Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control

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By Courtney Chambers
In my backyard, two peach trees were planted by the previous owner. When we saw them, we were eager and excited to pick peaches throughout the summer and eat them outside. It sounded like the perfect summer plan—until we received only one peach. One peach for two trees.
After digging deeper, we realized that the trunk and roots had been cut accidentally by a previous person mowing. The tree limbs were growing, but no fruit. The issue was not that the trees were dead but that the roots and source of strength had been cut off and ruined.
This is a perfect analogy for us to think of the fruit of the Spirit. To produce the fruit of the Spirit, we must have strong roots in the gospel and a trunk firm in the truths of the Scripture. We cannot assume that we will produce the fruit of the Spirit if our roots and trunk are not found in the gospel and scriptural truths. If our tree is consumed with the flesh, our fruit production will resemble my peach trees.
Because all Christians have the Holy Spirit, we are called to produce the fruit of the Spirit. This means we actively root ourselves in the gospel and fix our minds on scriptural truths daily. “But I say walk by the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). This is a promise. Paul says that if we do this (walk by the Spirit), we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Instead, we will produce good fruit. The fruit that we see in Galatians 5 are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Looking at the fruit of self-control, we can all admit the difficulty as parents to daily produce this fruit. It calls us to die to selfish desires and cling to God’s plan over our own. Despite the situations we face in parenting, no matter how difficult, we must continually bear the fruit of self-control. We must remember that self-control has so much value because it brings our focus to heavenly treasures versus earthly ones (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

An athlete that produces good results in a race or game is disciplined. They train, sacrifice their desires, and discipline their bodies to be the best athlete possible. Their discipline and hard work will produce good fruit. We see in 1 Corinthians 9 that the athlete’s award is perishable and earthly, but the reward we receive while disciplined in self-control is imperishable. Self-control has heavenly value. This means we should be even more disciplined in self-control than an athlete’s discipline for a game, match, or tournament.
We are called to give God glory in all things; this includes our thoughts, words, and deeds (Colossians 3:17). Disciplining ourselves to be self-controlled and running from sinfulness brings God glory. He doesn’t want us to serve two masters; He wants our complete allegiance. This means we train our minds and bodies not to succumb to sins temptation. We root ourselves in the why, which is found in the work of Jesus Christ in His life, death, and resurrection. We see how by abiding in Christ daily through prayer, Bible study, and Scripture memorization. Dying to self becomes a reality when we are firmly planted in the Scripture. Lastly, we see our what. We are to remember who we are in Christ daily. We should love Jesus more than we love ourselves and sin.
Practically, this means that day in and out, we find strength in Jesus not to overact when our kids are bouncing on the last nerve we have, or we do not snap at our spouse when the days seem long and hectic. Instead, we bring God glory by dying to self. We might be frustrated or upset at a situation, but we don’t react. We don’t allow our emotions to be the pilot in charge. Instead, we root ourselves in who we are in Christ. We remember that this situation is temporary, and we find a way at that moment to bring God glory by pointing ourselves to the hope found in Christ.
Self-control is a fruit we will fail to produce in our strength. It is one we as parents like to dismiss due to the difficulty that comes along with parenting. This is why our foundation in life must be rooted in the gospel. We cannot produce good fruit in our power. We need Jesus daily and the hope found in Him to produce the fruit of self-control.
Look at your life and ask yourself, are you a tree planted by streams of water producing beautiful fruit no matter the weather (Psalm 1), or is your life similar to my peach tree, which grew one peach in its life?
Courtney Chambers is a pastor’s wife and mom of three living in northeast Missouri. Courtney has a Bachelor’s in World Missions and a Master’s in Biblical Counseling.  Courtney is passionate about biblical theology and reaching the next generation. In her free time she enjoys reading, writing, and baking. You can find her @courtneyrchambers and @thereformedlife
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