I've known for a long time that the final "fruit of the Spirit" listed in Galatians is self-control. I've sometimes wondered if Paul listed it last because it is the last spiritual fruit that ever grows in our life. Today I was reminded that in 2 Timothy Paul also mentions self-control. He says that God has not given us a spirit of timidity but of power and of love and of self-control. Grouping self-control with power and love makes it mighty important!
My main battle over self-control is keeping to an ordered timetable which would ensure that everything I think is important will be done in a sensible order. My problem is two-fold. First, I am continually side-tracked by things that seem to be more immediately important, so I never keep to the timetable for more than a day or two. Second, if I did try really hard and succeeded for a while would I not be doing this in my own strength? Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do nothing." Paul writes that the fruit of the Spirit flourishes when we are led by the Spirit, and that all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. So how can I tell whether these side-tracks are in fact leadings of the Spirit which I should be following, and how can I discipline or control myself to stick to a timetable without coming again "under the law"?
Both salvation and sanctification come by faith, not by works. (Acts 26.28; 14.8,9. Romans 3.21,22) Faith comes from hearing, believing and confessing (speaking out) the word of God. So perhaps the secret is to adopt some advice from Zig Ziglar. This is to sit up in bed the moment I wake up each morning, clap my hands together (to help me wake up), and declare in a firm voice, "Today is going to be another great day in the Kingdom of God. I'm going to enjoy God's blessings, achieve all today's goals, and glorify the Lord. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I added the last sentence myself. And I actually say "We", not "I", because I'm still in bed with Ann.
It takes an effort of will to say this firmly, but after a week's trial I can say that it definitely has made a difference to me. I've achieved a lot more and have felt much more positive. Try it for yourself!