The horses’ hooves thundered as we raced to the top of the hill. The wind whipped through our hair as a thousand pounds of quarter horse galloped faster and faster. We laughed with exhilaration urging them on.
When we reached the top of the hill, my best friend and I slowed the horses down. The horses pranced, still eager to beat one another. I think they enjoyed it as much as we did! They would have kept going, but the two small 13-year-old girls were able to control these massive animals with just a small piece of equipment — a bridle.
A bridle is interesting because it is used both to stop a horse and to urge it on. It is also used to direct the horse where you want it to go.
Self-control is the bridle of the human heart. It is the equipment we use to stop ourselves from sin and also what we use to urge our hearts toward holiness. It is the device that we utilize to direct our hearts down paths of righteousness.
Self-control is not the brake of the human heart. Brakes only stop an action from happening. When we sin, we do not want to simply slam on the brakes; we want to direct our hearts from sinful behavior to godly behavior — put on and put off (Ephesians 4:22-24).
This fruit is last in the list of the fruit of the Spirit, but it is an important one. Without self-control, we cannot have any other fruit of the Spirit. Without self-control, we cannot learn to love, pursue peace, or practice patience. Self-control reigns in sinful desires and directs us toward godliness.
When you want to learn self-control, remember it is a fruit that needs to be cultivated. Fruit does not grow instantaneously. The Holy Spirit works in your heart as you put off sin and put on holiness. It is a gentle process of re-directing our hearts.
Gently pull on the bridle of self-control so that sin does not reign you; use it to direct your heart toward godliness.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).