Paul was expounding to the Galatians about christian virtues. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). When we consider self-control, we can get the idea that we have something to do with our ability to be good. There are many choices that are left to our free will and when we decide to discipline ourselves, the result is good fruit.
There are some traits however, that are harder for us to temper and we have to rely on the work of the Holy Spirit to transform us. “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (Jude 1:24). Our part in developing godly discipline is to listen and obey. This is obedience beyond what makes sense to our human reasoning. Often God will ask us to make decisions that go against our nature. His word to the person who is extremely proactive may come in the form of an instruction to be still and to wait for him to move.
Being asked to do what goes against our very nature can feel like a small death to parts of our natural selves. Very often God is saving us from ourselves because we sometimes don’t know our limitations. God will often challenge us in the areas where we need to grow. Left to our own devices, we would wear ourselves out trying to solve most problems on our own. There are things that we are responsible for. After we have done what we were told to do by God, we then have to surrender and wait. Wait for God to do what only he can do.
There is a strength beyond our strength; an understanding beyond what we can see; and wisdom beyond our human comprehension that only comes from God.
“Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).