We talk about many different types of habits and actions here at HappierHusband. Some are good, such as how you should talk about your wife, how to truly show love, the importance of praying together and who should have first place. Other habits are problematic and cause couples to divorce, drag us down due to poisonous relationships, and a very common mistake many couples make.
But today we are going to cover a habit, a problem, something so insidious that if practiced will almost certainly end your marriage sooner than you would hope. In fact this may be the ONLY habit that is ignored by the VAST majority of Christians including lay people, pastors, and all types of leaders. Statistically this is a sin that you are probably committing and not even thinking about it.
In this passage Paul is letting us know that if the Holy Spirit of God is in us then we will exhibit these characteristics or this “fruit”. We understand all of these words and Christians spend time in prayer, Bible study, reading inspirational works, singing songs and in classes learning how to better exhibit these nine important facets from God in our lives.
I could literally spend an entire blog post on each one and many sermons and books have been written on the fruit of the Spirit. Unlike spiritual gifts, where different people have different gifts, the fruit of the Spirit should be exhibited in the life of every Christian who has the Spirit of Christ. I’m going to focus on just one.
Ok, so this is the Happier Husband blog and the topic is self-control. I’ll bet you are expecting a treatise on the evils of lust, thinking about other women and pornography. Nope, not this time. Ah, perhaps self-control in relation to anger and outbursts of emotion. Not that either. Before I hit the main point let me drop in a quote.
“When you hear truth you become responsible for what you heard.” – Joyce Meyer
This might be a good time to stop reading and head back over to Facebook. If you keep going there is a VERY good chance you’ll feel conviction and have to make some changes. But fear not!
“Conviction is not a step toward condemnation; it is a step on the path to reconciliation.” – Andy Stanley
Let’s go back to those verses in Galatians, but not to the list of the fruit of the Spirit. Did you catch verse 24? It doesn’t get nearly the press as 22-23. But don’t miss it, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” The first thing most men think of here is lust. Ok, stop going there! Let me give you another quote. This one is from Mark Batterson’s book, The Grave Robber. Mark is the pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. NCC has multiple locations and he is a highly sought after speaker and author of other bestselling books. (Stick with me here.) In The Grave Robber Mark discusses a conference of elite medical researchers who had one goal, find the causes and solutions to the health care crisis in the world.
They found them.
“The experts concluded that they could not fix our problems for us. Only we can fix them ourselves. Unfortunately we choose not to. Study after medical study identifies five behavioral issues that cause 80% of health problems: too much eating, drinking, smoking and stress, and not enough exercise. It’s that simple, it’s that difficult.”
-Mark Batterson in The Grave Robber
Your body and my body serve as the temple of the Holy Spirit. God comes to live in us. Yet we don’t take care of His temple. Would you fill your church with garbage and never clean it? This is EXACTLY what we are doing when we overeat, or drink too much, or smoke, or fail to exercise.
I used to weigh 225 lbs which made me somewhere between 60 and 75 lbs overweight. I dropped 50 lbs with nothing more than portion control. I made a conscious decision to do simple things, such as no more regular soda, and that I would never eat more than one burger at a meal and I made a hard limit of two pieces of pizza. Notice that I did NOT restrict myself from unhealthy foods, but in the power of the Lord I exercised self-control. Then more recently I dropped another 22 lbs by substituting much healthier foods and then took up regular exercise. Guess what? I still have these habits and feel much better. More self-control, the fruit of the Spirit and thanks be to God.
Let’s cover two more points.
Lack of self-control will kill your marriage sooner than you like. Gluttony, too much drinking, smoking and lack of exercise will surely cause your body to fail much sooner than God designed. You will die YEARS earlier than you should. Don’t leave your spouse behind because you don’t have self control. If you have self control in any area then you can have it in every area. The same Christian who would never think about smoking a cigarette or getting drunk will fill their plate at the church event with terrible foods and then go back for seconds. It is EXACTLY the same thing. When we do that we are desecrating the temple of the Holy Spirit. If you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you then where is He when you are back at the dessert table?
Here is the second point. Overeating is gluttony and gluttony is a sin. We make jokes; we talk about ‘pulpit bumpers’ and such. It seems to me this is the single sin that is ignored almost universally throughout the church. I’ll give you a couple of scriptures and let you ponder:
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
“Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.” – Proverbs 23:20-21
If you would like practical tips I am happy to help.
Love you all!