“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22–23
The Fruit of the Spirit Is… Self-Control
Self-control is probably the least “flashy” of all of the fruits of the Spirit, but it’s necessary for spiritual growth, in that the other fruits of the Spirit kind of rely on self-control.
Do you want to experience the fullness of spiritual growth and maturity that Jesus has for you?
It begins and ends with His Spirit empowering you to have self-control.
Self-control in showing love, even when it’s hard
Self-control in seeking joy in difficult times
Self-control in pursuing peace in the midst of hardship
Self-control in choosing patience when you don’t want to wait
Self-control to be kind when it would be easier to fight back
Self-control to be good when you want to go against God’s goodness
Self-control to stay faithful when you want to give up
Self-control to be gentle when it would be easier to be harsh.
If you remember, we began with the first fruit of the Spirit: love (which you can read about at this link. In that first post, I mentioned how many consider love to be the overarching discipline which is then “flushed out” in deeper description through the rest of the fruits of the spirit.
Likewise, self-control is the summation of what needs to happen in our lives to begin this journey of bearing these fruits of the Spirit.
In other words:
Without the first step of self-control, we will not bear any of the other fruits of the Spirit.
God’s Spirit and grace
By emphasizing the importance of self-control, I’m by no means saying that this is up to you to accomplish all of these things. I’m merely pointing out the order of experiencing the fruits of God’s Spirit in our lives: Before we can have God’s love, joy, peace, patience, etc. flow our from our lives, we must first experience God’s Spirit to bring self-control to our hearts and lives.
Which is why Paul emphasizes this in his words to Timothy when he wrote:
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
God gives us power
So that, by His Spirit, we may be transformed to be more like Him and bear the fruit of His character and Spirit.
The blessing of self-control
Before we ask God to give us more self-control and grace in our everyday lives, I thought it would be important to reflect on the blessing of living a disciplined life.
And, in many ways, it simply results in a more enjoyable life.
For example, you are able to enjoy and live life without being as tossed about by the difficult people and challenging situations you experience in life.
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” – Proverbs 25:28
“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” – Proverbs 16:32
By self-control, you are able to stay away from and resist the things that are not good for you (though they seem good at the time) and that God desires to protect you from.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
And, by self-control, you can enjoy pursuing the direction and life that God has created for you to live.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24–25
The blessings that come into our lives from self-control are undeniable.
It brings peace to our everyday lives
It keeps us from the sin and temptations that can easily bring our lives pain
And it draws us near to the good plan and purpose that God has for our lives.
All from God’s Spirit providing us self-control in our everyday lives.
Embrace the blessing
Just like the rest of the fruits of the Spirit, nothing can be done from our own effort.
“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” – Galatians 3:3
We need the grace and Spirit of God to bring self-control to our lives in a way that only He can.
So, let us continue to pray for His Spirit to empower and guide us so that we may bear the fruit of His Spirit each and every day.
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:3–8
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,” – Titus 2:11–12
“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;” – 1 Timothy 4:7