For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
I’ve had to learn an awful lot about self-control over the last few years. The control necessary to remain in good and faithful fellowship with the believers I gather with every Sunday. The control necessary to stop myself imploding with anger and sorrow as I hear preachers around the globe snipe at my lifestyle. And, of course, the control necessary to live within the LGBT community, but remain faithful to Christian values.
Until you’re one of the minority, you don’t really learn self-control. Before that, I did of course have plenty to say about Paul’s list of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Part of any Christian walk is learning how to be critically self-evaluative. Discovering your strengths and your weaknesses enables you to walk down the narrow path, and to move away from those ‘works of the flesh’. Continue reading