Self Control

The Fruits of the Spirit

By Matt Ferreira

…the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)

The Fruit of the Spirit is a biblical phrase that summarises the nine characteristics of a person who lives with the Holy Spirit. This week we are looking at self-control.

It’s important to be aware that self-control is not a form of restriction that takes away all the fun from life. It is in fact a promise of freedom. All of us can be trapped by things that have control over our lives. They creep in quietly before we notice the firm grip that they have around us. This is accompanied by temptation and guilt, where we know we are doing the wrong thing but it is difficult to stop. All of these emotions and feelings enchain us. The Apostle Paul captures this struggle well: I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate (Romans 7:15 NLT).

However, by drawing near to God’s Spirit and seeking after more of His presence, the Fruit of the self-control promises freedom and allows us to take control of the chains that hold us down. This helps us to become all that God intends us to be. We will become more aware of our shortcomings, resist control of the external influences that bring us down, and we will nurture a habit of self-control that breaks the chains of addiction, temptation and guilt. It allows us to seek influence from things that are pure and godly.

So what does this mean for our daily walk with God? Like all the other Fruit in Galatians 5, self-control is a result of the Spirit’s work in our lives. This does not mean that we do not have a responsibility to cultivate its growth, but we can only see its development by the Spirit’s power. When we seek God’s heart, we will discover that freedom is in His very nature, and so are we learn to become self-controlled, we can choose to seek God’s guidance and become more like Him.

Practical help:

  • Know Your Limitations – identify the chains in your life and the moments where you feel most gripped by them.
  • Know Your Boundaries – create and discuss ways with those you are close to that will minimise and reduce moments of temptation.
  • Know Your God – this is the most important! Compare how powerful and majestic our God is in comparison to our problems. Nothing is impossible to Him, and He gives the same power to work in us that raised Jesus from the dead. When we draw near to His Spirit, He will develop Fruit within us and we will become more like Him.

Hebrews 12:1-2: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne.

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