Self-control is an essential ingredient in our Christian lives if we are to fully experience the blessings of God. However, self-control does not come naturally. Instead it is a trait that we must cultivate and make a conscious choice to show, not only in our words and our actions, but in our thoughts and our passions. King David wrote “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” (Ps 19:14)
It is not enough for us to avoid wrong actions or desires. We are to surrender our spirit, our mind and our body to following God’s commands. We are to be Christ-controlled if we are to have the power to live our lives with “love in charge”, the fundamental principle of self-control, regardless of the circumstances in our lives.
A person who is out-of-control is like a raging fire, hurting or destroying everything in their path. The nation watched and listened in horror on Monday, October 2, 2006, as reports of 32-year-old, Charles Carl Roberts IV, and his out-of control actions made national news. Like a raging fire, Roberts, destroyed the peace and tranquility of a quiet Amish community in rural Lancaster County,PA when he entered a small one room Amish school and shot 10 innocent young girls, killing five of them, then taking his own life.
The Gentle People, as the Amish are sometimes called, set a perfect and poignant example of God’s love reflected in self-control. Their Spirit-controlled actions in the midst of their anguish and pain as they forgave the killer, leaving his judgment to God as they grieved the loss of their own children spoke to the world – Christian and non-Christian alike. Even in their sorrow, they reached out in love to the killer’s widow and children with gifts of food, kindness and requests that any donations coming to this Amish community be shared with The Robert’s family.
When asked how these families could be so kind to the Robert’s family, an Amish mid-wife responded, “With Christ in one’s heart, it is possible”. It was only through the power of the Holy Spirit and their conscious choice to be faithful to God’s teachings that these families were able to respond with Christian love instead of angry retaliation.
How many of us are strong enough Christians in our own spiritual walk, so grounded in our own faith, that we would meet such anguish and sorrow with the type of Christian, Christ-controlled love that resonated from this Amish community a few year’s ago?
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7 (Amplified Bible)
Oh God, give each of us the desire to be Spirit-controlled as we face the circumstances of our days. Help each of us to learn from the example that spoke so softly in the fall of 2006, yet so loudly from this hurting Amish community. Help us to be steadfast and true to our own faith walk as we face the trials of our life.
In Jesus Name, Amen