You see, the Bible isn’t the ultimate “self-help book” - the Bible is the ultimate “GOD HELP ME BOOK!!” We can’t and won’t fix ourselves. God did that. God does that. God WILL DO that. Are you ready for Him to begin or continue in your life??
Let’s finish up the 9…
7. Faithfulness. - The word itself is kind of daunting because we can gather from a quick study of the word that our FAITH should be FULL. And that scares us. A lot. Because some of us have a weak faith. Some of us are more DOUBT-FILLED than FAITH-FILLED. Guess what - being FAITH-FILLED doesn’t mean you don’t have doubt. It means you have faith… confidence that as those doubts arise, God has placed His Word and His people in your life to squash the doubt and continue building your faith!!! "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) To say it another way, it’s how we handle what we don’t see. I’ve never seen the wind, nor have I ever seen $1,000,000. BUT, I have seen the effects of the wind, and the effects of a million dollars (though, not personally - hahaha). AND, I’ve seen the effects of God. I marvel at His creation. I’m awe-struck at His grace and working in my heart, mind, and life. As you really seek Him out, you’ll find Him… in a BIG way. Be ready to be FAITH-FILLED.
8. Gentleness. - Lots of people struggle with this one. Especially guys. The testosterone, many argue, makes “gentleness” impossible… or nearly so. I beg to differ. I’ve seen unbelievably rough and tough guys melt when holding a newborn baby… especially their own. When we say “gentleness,” we’re not just talking about a physical gentleness (as you need to be gentle when holding something delicate), but more of having a gentle heart… a gentle spirit. An easy-going way about you that allows others to be comfortable around you and open up. Is there time for rough and gruff? YES. The football field is one of those times… So is flipping over tables and using whips to drive out hypocrites and thieves and liars from God’s house and God’s people (John 2:15). But when that time’s over, be approachable. Allow people to know that what they tell you will be safe with them. Be gentle in your words and your actions… and that gentleness will stem from a gentle heart. An understanding of your own brokenness and God’s gentleness with you as He rebuilds and remakes you.
9. Self-Control. - Perhaps the most difficult of the 9, which is probably why it’s last. Because lets face it… if you’re capturing the other 8 well, this one is doable. Am I right? We ALL struggle with this - controlling our mouths, our minds, our appetites, our “needs” (which are really “wants”), our finances, our time and schedules, our devotion to Jesus… the list could go on for a LONG TIME. We can SO EASILY be overwhelmed with not having self-control that we freak out, which causes us to be reminded that we need to be self-controlled. See the vicious cycle? THIS DOESN’T HAVE TO BE. This MAY BE YOU NOW, but it doesn’t HAVE TO BE YOU. God hasn’t given you a spirit of fear, but of POWER, and LOVE, and SELF-CONTROL (2 Tim. 1:7)!! Don’t get lost in this… self control isn’t just NOT doing the things you’re NOT supposed to do, but it’s also WORKING to do the things you ARE supposed to do!! The more we put away the old stuff we used to do, we need to fill it with NEW stuff that we should be doing!! Ephesians and Colossians talks about this - you can read it here.
Don’t be discouraged if you’ve read all 9 and are beating yourself up. Remember, it’s OK to not be OK. But it’s NOT ok to stay not ok… By the grace of God and the power of His Spirit, He has placed you in a place that loves Jesus and honestly desires to encourage you and help you as you grow into the maturity God designed for you!!!