The Bible describes a person without self-control as a city whose walls are broken down – vulnerable, helpless and defenseless. The fruit of the Spirit which is self-control is not ourselves controlling ourselves. True self-control is the God-controlled self. God grows self-control in the garden of temptation. Our ability to overcome temptation comes when we focus on God’s love for us rather than focusing on the thing in which we know we are being tempted. When we lose sight of how much we are loved and forgiven by God we make ourselves vulnerable to temptation as we begin to feel as if God is holding out on us and depriving us of things that we think we might enjoy. When we focus on God’s love, as Jesus did in the wilderness and in the Garden of Gethsemane when the Devil tempted him mercilessly, we see God transform a wilderness into a garden in which he cultivates the fruit of the Spirit in us.
- Do you struggle with self-control? How so?
- In what ways is the self trying to control the self a losing proposition? (Read Jeremiah 17:9 and Romans 7:18-19)
- How do you respond when you are tempted to disobey God?
- How might focusing on God’s love for you and his forgiveness of you help you overcome temptation?
- Have you seen God transform any of your life’s wilderness experiences into a garden in your life? What happened when he did?
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The outline and application questions are intended for your further reflection and action upon the weekend message. They are also designed to facilitate discussion and accountability within your LifeGroup.