If the fruit of the Spirit is when the Holy Spirit manifests itself to produce qualities through us, why is SELF-control on the list? Are we supposed to be controlled by ourselves? What exactly did Paul mean when he finished the list of qualities with self-control? It would appear that it is in direct contradiction with relying on the power of the Holy Spirit. In this post, we will explore why self-control is the final quality within the fruit of the Spirit. Additionally, we’ll discover how to exercise it in our lives.
What is the fruit of the Spirit?
The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is the substance God grows through us when we allow Him to work in our lives. In these verses, Paul describes the fruit with nine words: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Little Pot is a fruit-bearing vessel created by the potter. You can learn more about that story here. The allegory mirrors the relationship that we have with our creator. We are also vessels created to bear fruit. Therefore, in the previous weeks, we studied love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. This week, we will examine why Paul labeled the fruit with self-control. There is a good reason it comes at the end.
What is self-control, and why does it matter?
Self-control is the ability to restrain impulses, desires, or emotions and instead direct our energies toward healthier and more beneficial behaviors. It involves making decisions based on rational thought rather than impulse and ensuring that our actions align with our values. Practicing self-control is crucial because it allows us to live intentionally, protects us from destructive choices, and is essential to growth and maturity. In the eyes of the world, self-control allows us to live our best life without harming others. But the Bible goes much further. We are to manifest self-control to become like Jesus Christ.
The Bible is not referring to self-control as being controlled by our selfish desires. It is the opposite, having self-control means we have the strength required to produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness.
What does the Bible say about self-control?
The Bible speaks of controlling our tongues, body, passions, and possessions. In James 3:1-12 we read how difficult it is to control what we say. Likewise, in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, we learn how important it is to control our bodies. James 4:1-10 and 1 Timothy 6:6-10 remind us that we should control our passions and possessions. We can also find examples of people who had self-control and those who did not. Samson was a person that lacked self-control and suffered for it. In contrast, Daniel showed self-control and the Lord blessed him for it.
Practical steps to embrace self-control through the power of the Holy Spirit
To embrace self-control through the power of the Holy Spirit, we need to understand how He gives us strength. Remaining in an intimate relationship with God, we will learn how He wants us to live out His commands. Additionally, it is essential to remain humble and accountable to fellow Christians as part of our spiritual growth. We should also strive to live our lives for Jesus in everything we do, focusing on keeping our thoughts, words, and actions pure. Additionally, spending time in prayer daily allows us to ask God for His guidance and helps us stay attuned to His will. Finally, reading Scripture helps strengthen our faith because it reminds us of our need for Jesus and offers hope for future victories in our battle for self-control.
Self-control and the fruit of the Spirit
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness will grow when we exercise self-control. The goal is to make conscious choices that allow God to work through us instead of following our impulses. The right choices aren’t easy, however. They require strength and sacrifice. God’s Spirit will work with us and produce this fruit as we surrender to His will for our lives. Consequently, we can cultivate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Understanding how to become fruit-bearing vessels is a God-sized calling and one of the most important things we do as followers of Christ. Likewise, I’ve seen how God produces the fruit Spirit, and I’ve explained the process in seven steps. I have used these steps with children, teachers, and parents. It includes the three areas of spiritual, social, and academic growth. In these areas, you’ll become a fruit-bearing vessel.
If you join me on this fruit-bearing journey, we will see how God works in our lives and with others around us. In addition, you’ll receive a short, fruitful Friday email each week. Just type in your email address and name below.
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