In J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books, there is an ancient artifact that goes by many names, but perhaps most familiarly, “The One Ring.” Those who wear this ring are affected by and can wield the ring’s immense powers. There are other rings in Tolkien’s fantasy world, Middle-earth, and those other rings each have their own powers and importance.
It is the One Ring, however, on which it is inscribed these words, “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” That phrase says many things about the influence of the One Ring, but I want to suggest that it also relates to the final quality we’ll be studying in our series on the Fruit of the Spirit.
For the past 9 weeks we have been studying the Fruit of the Spirit. We have been learning to walk in step with the Spirit, which means growing the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives. We’ve learned about growing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and now this week on the blog we’ll study the final quality/action of self-control.
It seems to me, similarly to the One Ring, that self-control is critical to all the other qualities in the list. Self-control is a quality and an action that relates to and enables the other eight qualities in the Fruit of the Spirit.
Do you have self-control? What exactly is self-control? How do we grow self-control? In our world, more than likely, you’ve heard control referred to in very negative ways. “Stop trying to control me!” Or “You are so controlling!” Or even, “You need to let go of control,” as if control is a bad thing. Certainly, unhealthy control can be very bad, and it has caused worlds of pain. As the story of The Lord of Rings unfolds, that is precisely what we learn about the One Ring, it’s unhealthy controlling power. What, then, is a healthy approach to self-control?
Starting with the next post, David Hundert concludes our blog series on the Fruit of the Spirit, teaching about self-control.