Fruit Of The Spirit: Self-Control

Self control word

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 

Today I will be looking at the last fruit of the Spirit–self-control. Thank you, if you have been following this little bible study on the fruit of the Spirit. If you have not been following and just joined, you can find the other studies here: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness.

This final fruit of the Spirit is the culmination of all of the rest. Without the rest of the fruits, one cannot have this last one. It is one that many people do not really want to talk about or think that they already have it, though most people struggle in this area. Self-control is being able to control one’s own thoughts and actions. It is taking responsibility for yourself.

Self-control is often looked at in the areas of exercising and dieting. Very few people exercise good self-control in these areas and will admit it. However, self-control needs to be exercised in many other areas of life.

Hole in wall

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. Proverbs 25:28

Solomon points out the value of self-control, or rather the destruction of the lack of self-control. In his time cities had a wall surrounding the city to protect it from the enemy. If there was a hole in the wall, their protection was gone. The wall was then worthless and the city could be overrun.

In the same way, a person who does not have self-control in his life has a hole broken through. Not having self-control allows the enemy to enter into your life. It gives the devil a foothold into your life, causing you to breakdown and choose to sin, rather than flee the sin.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, James 1:19

One are that many people lack self-control in is with their speaking and listening. Many are slow to listen and very quick to get angry. They are quick to strike back with words, cursing someone, when something does not go their way, rather than trying to understand and listen.

Angry person

In order to follow what James is telling us to do, we must have self-control. You have to make a choice to listen. You have to make a choice to be slow to speak and not become angry so quickly. This takes practice over time, because it goes against the human nature.

Immediately many people will rise up now and say that they cannot do this. It is in their nature to sin, that they have no self-control. This is true, if they are relying upon their own strength and abilities. Man does not have any self-control in himself. However, it does not have to stay that way.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, Titus 2:11-12

Titus tells us that God’s grace teaches us to say ‘No’ to sin and to live a godly, upright life that is self-controlled. We have the perfect teacher–God’s Holy Spirit.

Blocking hand

However, just like children in school, we often do not want to learn. Some will say that they cannot do it, it is not in their nature or some other excuse. This is true if you say that, but it does not have to remain true. You can change.

Remember that in Christ you are a new creation, a new person. You have the ability to say ‘No’ to sin and run away from all temptation. However, to do this, you must be in control of yourself. You have to conscientiously choose to not sin or walk into sin.

In your own strength and power this is difficult, even impossible to do. You cannot live a self-controlled, sinless life without God’s help and power.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Another version says that I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. God is there to give you all the strength you need to do what needs to be done. This is not just physically doing things, but also strength to do the not doing things, to turn away from sin.

Pushing a bolder

In yourself, you cannot stay away from sin, but in Christ you have that ability. There is no reason for you to continue in sin. Christ has made you a new creation. All you have to do is live as the new creation, live as Jesus lived. Every time temptation pops its head up to cause you to sin, turn to God for strength and a way out of that temptation. Refuse to sin. Allow His Holy Spirit to guide you in the right path.

But all of this is a choice you have to make. It does not come automatically. It is not built into you. You have to be self-controlled. The great news is that with God’s Holy Spirit you can have that self-control to make the right choices every time.

Two choices

Give your life over to God and allow Him to be in control. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and help you live a godly life here on this earth. As you are filled with His Holy Spirit, you will have to bear some fruit.

God does not want you to fail, so He has given you everything you need to be successful in walking a holy, righteous, sinless life. You must now make the choice to accept it and live in it.

As you are filled with His Holy Spirit, you will show His love, which will lead to joy bringing about peace, which leads to forbearance/patience, bringing on kindness and goodness, which will make you faithful and gentle. Once all of these fruits are in place, you will have self-control to keep in them and in God’s will.

Be the man or woman God has called you to be in Christ Jesus. Do not conform to the ways of this world any longer and remain in sin.

This finishes looking at the fruit of the Spirit. Next week I will bring this study to a finish with an overview of all that we have studied and what it means to you as a believer. Please feel free to comment and/or share this post with anyone you think that could use it.

Titus 1:8 How You Should Be

“Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.” Titus 1:8

As Paul opens his letter to Titus, he gives some instructions for a person who is an over-seer. An over-seer is the pastor or lead elder of the church. He starts with some things that he should not be, then in this verse gives some things he should be. Although he is talking about the over-seer, these very same things can be applied to every believer.

Five things are listed that one should be. The first is being hospitable. This is being open to allowing people to come and see you. You have an open door on your house for visitors. Do you shun people coming over? Or do you welcome them with open arms?

Next is loving what is good. There are many things in this world, and not all of them are good. By good, it means: does it glorify God; or bring you and others closer to God; does it make you more like Jesus? Or do these things pull you away from God?

Next is self-controlled. Are you controlling what you say, think, and do? No one can make you do anything you do not want to do in your heart. Do not allow others to control you.

Then being upright. This is living your life for God. When someone looks at your life what will they see? Is there corruption, deception, and sin? Or is it Jesus? Are you a person of your word?

Next is holy. Are you living as Jesus would? Are you staying away from sin in every form? If God looks at your life what does He see?

Finally is being disciplined. This comes alongside self-control. Do you hold yourself accountable for your actions? Do you keep yourself from falling into sinful ways? Beat your old sinful self down and live for Jesus.

These are a few ways that every believer should be living. This would bring honor to God and lift up the name of Jesus. Not every believer is living like this, which brings dishonor to Jesus and all believers.

How are you living your life today?

I pray today that you will examine your life to see how you live for Jesus; that God will reveal areas that you need to improve on; that you will bring honor to the name of Jesus by how you live; and that God will use you to touch the lives of others.