But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance….
— Galatians 5:22,23
God has sown His Spirit and His Word into your heart, so you have every right to expect divine fruit to be produced inside you. The fruit that the Spirit produces is wonderful, godly fruit, overflowing with blessings and life. In Galatians 5:22 and 23, the apostle Paul listed the fruit of the Holy Spirit, writing, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…. ” Today I want to focus on the word “temperance” and see how we can cultivate this precious fruit in our lives.
In Greek, the word “temperance” is egkrateia, which is a compound of the words en and kratos. The word en simply means in, and kratos is the Greek word for power. When the two are compounded, the new word egkrateia means in power, in control, or in balance and pictures a person who is fully in command of his will, his urges, and his emotions. It is the idea of self-control and discipline.
*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
The ability to exercise self-restraint (enkrateia) is absolutely crucial in all arenas of your life, including your personal finances, diet and physical exercise, productivity at work, or any other area where discipline is required in order to progress. However, because so many believers struggle with self-control in the realm of finances, I want to address this specific issue. If you will allow the Holy Spirit to work in this very important area of your life, I know He will help you become financially temperate and very prosperous as a result.
Managing your personal finances in a fiscally responsible manner is an essential part of being a person through whom God can work effectively. By doing so, you remain free from the bondage of unnecessary, frivolous debt and thus are able to pursue your calling without the hindrance and distraction of crushing financial obligations to creditors slowing you down. However, if you repeatedly succumb to your flesh and use your credit card to purchase items you don’t need and can’t afford, you will inevitably end up swamped in debt and financially ruined. The Holy Spirit wants to help you be temperate in the realm of your finances, as well as in every other realm. So once you’ve made a commitment to exercise self-control (enkrateia) and stay debt-free, know that with His help and by His grace, you can stick to your commitment!
If you feel that you’re failing at exercising self-control with your finances — or in any other area of your life — simply ask for God’s forgiveness, and you will be forgiven and cleansed (see 1 John 1:9). Then let the Holy Spirit help you develop a practical plan that will help you begin the journey toward becoming financially free and responsible by cultivating temperance (enkrateia) in your life.
One truth Denise and I have witnessed time and time again is that sowing seed into the Kingdom of God is one of the most important tools we have to get out of debt. Tithing opens the windows of Heaven. In Second Corinthians 9:6, Paul confirmed this principle, saying, “…He which soweth sparingly will reap sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”
As you ask the Holy Spirit for a plan for financial freedom, ask Him also to direct you in your giving to the work of God’s Kingdom. In addition to taking natural, common-sense steps toward financial freedom, it’s imperative that you honor God with your tithes and special offerings — for this is a vital key to obtaining freedom in the financial realm both now and in the future.
If you’ll listen to the Holy Spirit, He’ll help you put together a plan to exercise temperance in your life. If you’ll stick with His plan, He will lead you to a place of glorious financial freedom and will help you bring discipline and self-control to every other area of your life. When you get to this place, you’ll never want to go back! Denise and I have learned firsthand that the fruit of temperance not only provides freedom — it gives peace! I’m praying for you to make the decision to let the Holy Spirit develop this fruit in your life in a greater measure than ever before — starting today!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I recognize that fiscal responsibility and financial freedom are essential for me to be effective in my service to You. I repent of the poor choices I’ve made financially due to fear, negligence, lack of self-control, or ignorance. Holy Spirit, I ask You to show me Your plan and wisdom for my finances so I can be the blessing I desire to be for the Kingdom of God. Please bring to me the knowledge I need, and then grant me the understanding and self-discipline I need to gain a heart of wisdom. I make a decision now to do what You reveal to me. I am willing to sacrifice what I want now in order to obtain what I need to possess later. Father, it glorifies You for me to be fully supplied so I can do the work You have given me to do without hindrance or delay. I receive Your help, and I commit my way to You.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I honor the Lord with my tithes and offerings, and I seek first His ways in everything — including my finances. I declare that I am not wasteful of my time or my money. I acknowledge that wisdom is the principal thing in all the affairs of life. Therefore, I cultivate temperance by allowing this wisdom and patience to have its perfect work in me. I am diligent in business, obedient to the Word of God, and my finances steadily increase. I exercise wisdom in my sowing, saving, and spending. I am faithful in little, and God can trust me with much because I am proving that I am satisfied in Him and I no longer seek to gratify undisciplined impulses with my finances.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Do you know what it is like to be so bound by debt that you are barely able to get by on your salary? What were the circumstances that produced that situation? What are the steps that you know are needed to turn that situation around?
- Have you ever asked the Holy Spirit to give you a financial temperance plan that will walk you out of any mess you might be in now into a life of freedom and liberty? If you don’t know how to devise such a plan, why not ask someone you trust to help you develop one?
- Are you so in debt that you can’t regularly pay your tithe? Be honest! Doesn’t it make you feel guilty before the Lord? When you’re not tithing, you are living below God’s plan for your life. Consider the joy you’ll experience knowing that your financial temperance plan has brought you to a place where you can freely and regularly tithe!