The Parental Gift that Keeps on Giving
Our world is not so different from that of our ancestors in the faith who lived in the first century CE. Believers then, as now, bemoaned the society’s acceptance of addiction, instant gratification, and self-indulgence, and many other temptations common to the Greco-Roman world. So what was a parent to do, in helping a child to avoid the seductions of society? What parental gift would arm a young person to fight the spiritual battles? How can children today be prepared to face the evils in a world that does not know or value God’s teaching?
No Effortless Success
The story of the children of Israel in the wilderness revealed that the challenge of internal enemies was greater than that of external enemies. Paul used the example of the children of Israel to focus on the need for the gift of “self-control,” so we do not fail as some of them failed. Today, leadership training talks about the “competencies” needed for success. And often, “self-management” is at the top of the list. Are parents preparing their children for the hard work involved in achieving success? Are they teaching their children this skill of self-discipline that involves paying attention, sustained effort, and perseverance? What greater gift could you give a child, than the gift of self-regulation?
What Kind of Children are We?
As God’s children, our Father, values self-control, or temperance. It is a fruit of His spirit. He encourages his children to be prepared for the perpetual battle for self-mastery. He disciplines and helps us say “No” to feelings of entitlement, or actions of self-indulgence. And he provides His spirit of power, love, sound judgment, and self-discipline. God asks us to avoid being conformed to the evil world around us. But through the spirit, God empowers us to live as obedient children, set apart for God’s purposes, self-controlled and prepared for action.
Fruit of the Spirit
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