Chocolate Chip Cookies and the Fruit of the Spirit
by Sharon Holeman
I admit it. I have a weakness for chocolate chip cookies. Warm and gooey with a little crunch --- alongside a steaming cup of black coffee served underneath a covered patio. Through trial and error I have learned that this indulgence in my life must remain a mere occasional treat. My weekly allowance often takes the form of a homemade “Jesus cookie” served at my friend Karen’s house after a couple of hours on the tennis court. My aspiration to manage this sweet sensation may sound trivial but I believe it can serve as an intentional form of learning to have power over fleshly desires. By definition, Merriam-Webster says self-control is “restraint exercised
over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.” In fact, selfcontrol, a Biblical fruit of the spirit, is of great importance and affects just about every area of our lives. Often overlooked, self-control is spoken of many times in the Scriptures. It’s actually spoken of more than we might think. When defending himself in Caesarea, Paul spoke to the governor and his wife “about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment … Felix became frightened.” “Go away for now,” he replied. “When it is more convenient, I’ll call for you again.” (Acts 24:25) Self-control is not easy or convenient. We need the Holy Spirit’s help to guard our hearts, to take captive our thoughts,
to control our tongues and tempers, to turn our eyes away from the entrapping of the world around us, but yet not to ignore the people who so desperately need the love of Christ just like us. Galatians talks about our freedom in Christ and living by the Spirit’s power. It says when we follow the desires of our sinful nature the results are clearly not good, but it is the Holy Spirit that produces fruit in our lives. And then it says something magnificent. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.” (Galatians 5:24) That’s powerful. We have been given victory and control and “since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (Galatians 5:25) Yet, sometimes in the moment it can be hard to follow the Spirit’s leading, especially if we can’t hear Him over our impulsive responses. So, how can we take practical steps to hear Him and properly respond to life’s temptations?
• Pray. Prayer is the conversation that keeps us close to God.
• Presence. My day just isn’t right if I don’t start with time in the Word. Worship music helps keep my heart light.
• Pre-decide. If my decision is already made it’s an easy one. Respond in love, wait before speaking, and one dessert a week. You get the idea.
• Plan. Intentionally side-step stumbling blocks.
• Persevere. Forgiveness after failure is key … for us and for others. I recently heard a pastor say that we are never more like Jesus than when we forgive.
As Christians, we are to die to ourselves daily-to be selfgiving rather than self-focused, self-controlled and acting in love. We are to be faithful in the little so we can be faithful in plenty, even if it means having just one chocolate chip cookie at a time.