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.

Proverbs 26:28 Hate And Destruction In Speaking

Tilted building

A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin. Proverbs 26:28 

Words can do a lot. They can be used to build up or they can be used to destroy. The two major common ways that speaking can hurt and destroy people is with telling lies and flattering. Both of these go hand in hand and relatively the same.

There are many people who think that a “little white” lie is not really hurting anyone and does no real harm. Yet a lie is a lie. It is deceiving someone else into thinking something that is not true. It breaks the trust of those that hear it. Thus to speak a lie to someone is to hate them.

Flattering is telling lies to make a person feel better about himself. It often causes a person to think that they are better than what they really are. When this occurs, there is often a downfall later. The person goes about thinking greater of himself until someone else brings out the truth and crushes him.

In Proverbs it points out that a lying tongue hates others and flattering a person brings about destruction and ruin.

God is a God of love and His people are to be the same. Telling lies about or to someone or flattering someone is not showing that love. It is showing hatred.

These types of actions can often be found in the church among believers. Many believers will tell lies that they do not struggle with some type of sin, trying to look better. Others will also flatter someone to put them on a pedestal making them appear much greater than they are, rather than speaking full truth.

Jesus only spoke truth and then it was always done in love. Every believer is to speak in the same way. Jesus built people up with truth, not flattering lies.

Every day you will have opportunities to speak to others. You will have a choice as to whether to speak the truth or tell a lie. You will have the opportunity to build a person up in love or with flattering lies.

Allow God to guide your words to build them up in the true love of Jesus. There will be times of correction and there will be times of admonishment. However all of it is to be done in His love.

Are your words showing love or hate? Are your words building up or destroying others?

I pray today that God will give you the words to speak; that you will only speak as Jesus spoke; that God will fill you with His love for others; and that you will build others up in Jesus and not tear them down.

Proverbs 21:23 Guarding Your Mouth

Duct tape on mouth

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity. Proverbs 21:23 

Freedom to speak is the desire and love of many people. In some places people are allowed to speak freely in whatever way they desire, while in other places people are severely restricted on what they can talk about.

The freedom to speak freely is a double-edge sword. It can be good to be able to say what is needed without fear of being reprimanded. However, many times people talk too much, too fast. Things are often said that only bring about trouble.

Speaking today has become even easier than in the past. Not only can a person be heard by those physically near by, but he can also be heard by millions around the world using online social media. This can also happen within just a few seconds, rather than days or months.

Solomon gives advice to a person who speaks. He should guard his mouth with what he says. This prevents tragedy from occurring.

It is common to hear a person suddenly say something in the heat of the moment that is hateful or harmful to himself or to others. Responses to online comments are often sharp and painful.

Many are having their dreams destroyed because of something that was stated online years before. They did not put a guard over their mouths and are now paying for it. Often society does not care if the person ever changed or not, it is just that it was said and was wrong.

Believers are also known for saying things quickly in the heat of the moment, casting harsh judgement before hearing the full story. Instead of being slow to speak and quick to listen, they are slow to listen and quick to speak in judgement of others.

Speaking like this is often selfish and brings about trouble and hatred with no love. Believers should always speak out of love and truth.

Every day you will have hundreds of opportunities to speak. Before you speak, slow down and consider what you will say, put a guard over your mouth.

Ask yourself if what you are going to say is going to build up or destroy, it is going to be the truth or a lie.

Once you speak, your words are out there and cannot be returned. However, they will return to reward you or destroy you.

Are you speaking the words of God or of self? Put a guard over your words and speak His words.

I pray today that God will help you guard your mouth; that you will only speak the words of truth and love; that you will be led by God’s Holy Spirit in what you say; and that your words will point people to God rather than destroy them.

Proverbs 18:13 Listen First

LIstening rabbit

To answer before listening–that is folly and shame. Proverbs 18:13 

Talking is something that a lot of people like to do. Most people have something to say and want to say it. They want to get their opinion on the matter out in the open for everyone to hear.

Since people like to talk so much, they will speak first before listening and thinking. Things are often said that are not in the right context or are wrong.

As one person is talking, the other person often is already forming their answer and is not hearing the first person in what he is saying. When this occurs, what is heard is often misheard and is used incorrectly. Actions like this is dishonoring to the one who spoke and selfish of the one who should have been listening.

In this verse it says that the one who does not listen and just gives an answer is living in folly and shame. He is being a fool.

It is easy and common for a person to answer before fully listening to the one speaking. This is because he is in a hurry. He may be in a hurry to move on to something else, to say what he thinks is correct, or just to get the discussion over. It takes time and effort to really listen to what another person is saying.

The foolishness comes in because the full story was not heard. When that occurs, things are often misunderstood.

Not hearing everything first can also be found in the church. The preacher speaks a full sermon and all the person heard was one thing and makes a rebuttal off of that one statement. Some read one or two verses and take them out of context responding incorrectly to it.

Both actions are foolish and selfish. They are about self and moving self forward, rather than honoring and building the other person up.

Every day people will talk to and with you. Take time to slow down and listen to what they are saying. Sometimes you have to hear what they are saying beyond just the words.

Some people will be crying out for help without asking for help. If you fully listen to a person, you will hear that cry.

Instead of speaking first, be willing to listen first. Once you have listened, you have the right to speak. Be quick to listen and slow to speak.

I pray today that God will help you to hear what people are saying; that God will give you patience to listen to others; that God will guide you in what you say; and that you will build others up in Jesus in all that you say.