Holiness = Love: Part 3, Love Requires Self-Control

One of the reasons we have trouble connecting love to holiness is that we associate holiness with self-discipline, self-mastery, self-denial, self-control, and even self-mortification.

Love, by contrast, tends to be other-focused and affectional in nature, a matter of the heart.

And by and large, we're more attracted to being kind and affectionate people than we are interested in the rigors of self-denial and self-discipline. The grim asceticism we associate with holiness seems far removed from the joy and spontaneity of love.

And yet, can we really love others without a foundation of self-control and self-denial?

If you can't say no to yourself, how are you ever going to say yes to others?

I fear we're all a bit too romantic about love.

Patience in the midst of hurry and stress requires self-control. Gentleness in the midst of conflict and anger requires self-control. Peace-making in the face of attack and accusation requires self-control. And loving the hard-to-love, as I described in the last post, requires self-control.

Self-control is a Fruit of the Spirit.

Asceticism isn't opposed to love. Asceticism makes love possible.

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