Fruits of the Spirit: Self Control

Hello church family! Today brings us to final fruit of the spirit - self control. This one for me is somewhat of an anomaly in that it is both the most obvious on what it means but the least obvious from a theological perspective. What I mean by this is that gentleness, kindness, love, peace, and the rest are all easily identifiable traits seen in Jesus and thus are easy to emulate or replicate his deeds. But, self control is less obvious. In what ways did Jesus have self control? We know that he experienced temptation but we don't get much of his inner monologue during those times.


So, for today's "blog" section I want to share a theological perspective that I found online from Got Answers. I think they do a great job at explaining this 'fruit' with scriptural support.


"The last characteristic listed in Galatians 5:22-23 as a fruit of the Spirit is self-control. The fruit of the Spirit is the change in our character that comes about because of the Holy Spirit’s work in us. We do not become a Christian on our own, and we cannot grow on our own. Philippians 2:13 says that "it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." Every good thing we do is the fruit of the Spirit’s work in our lives.


Self-control (“temperance” in the KJV) is, of course, the ability to control oneself. It involves moderation, constraint, and the ability to say “no” to our baser desires and fleshly lusts.


One of the proofs of God’s working in our lives is the ability to control our own thoughts, words, and actions. It’s not that we are naturally weak-willed. But our fallen nature is under the influence of sin. The Bible calls it being a "slave to sin" (Romans 6:6). One definition of sin is "filling a legitimate need through illegitimate means." Without the power of the Holy Spirit, we are incapable of knowing and choosing how best to meet our needs. Even if we knew what would be best, such as not smoking, another need, like comfort, would take precedence and enslave us again.


When we are saved by Christ’s sacrifice, we are free (Galatians 5:1). That liberty includes, among other things, freedom from sin. “Our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6). Now, as the Spirit gives us self-control, we can refuse sin.


Believers need self-control because the outside world and internal forces still attack (Romans 7:21-25). Like a vulnerable city, we must have defenses. A wall around an ancient city was designed to keep out the enemy. Judges at the gates determined who should be allowed in and who should remain outside. Soldiers and gates enforced those decisions. In our lives, these defenses might include avoiding close relationships with sinners, meeting with other believers, and meditating on the life-giving Word of God. We don’t exhibit self-control if we continually dally with that which would enslave us.


Self-control naturally leads to perseverance (2 Peter 1:6) as we value the long-term good instead of the instant gratification of the world. Self-control is a gift that frees us. It frees us to enjoy the benefits of a healthy body. It frees us to rest in the security of good stewardship. It frees us from a guilty conscience. Self-control restricts the indulgence of our foolish desires, and we find the liberty to love and live as we were meant to." (https://www.gotquestions.org/fruit-Holy-Spirit-self-control.html)


 

Scripture to Read


1 Corinthians 10:1-17


 

Questions to Consider

  1. Where do you lack in self control? (Time management, addictions, impulsive, etc.) What are the top 3 things that often tempt you?

  2. Suggested activity: Write down those 3 things and then next to them create a plan for an action you will do instead. For example, if you smoke when you drink - replace your drink with a cup for a tea for a week and see if the smoking subsides. Or, if you watch too much TV consider having your partner hide the remote. Then, create a prayer to go with this as we can only conquer when God is with us!

Assessment:

Self-control has two parts:

1. Self-discipline: practicing good habits without anybody needing to tell you to do things a certain way.

2. Maintaining emotional balance (not being under other’s control, but rather under your self control): the actions of others or adverse situations do not make you lose control of your emotions.

Here are a few examples of self-discipline. Give yourself a score of 1 to 10 (10 being the best) to gauge your self-discipline.

  1. I am very good at planning things carefully.

  2. I usually don’t take shortcuts. I am thorough and do things right the first time.

  3. I usually do one kind deed a day for somebody who cannot do anything for me.

  4. I am reliable. My actions almost always reflect my promises.

  5. I don’t interrupt people while they are speaking.

  6. I don’t think about what I’m going to say next when the other person is talking.

  7. I give people my complete attention when they speak to me. I do not continue looking at a computer screen, phone or something else.

  8. I usually take at least 15 to 20 minutes a day to rest my mind/reflect/meditate.

  9. I regularly take time for physical activity or exercise.

Here are a few examples of emotional balance. Give yourself a score of 1 to 10 (10 being the best) to gage your self-control.

  1. I don’t whine or complain.

  2. I usually keep my emotional balance. I don’t lose my self control when I get angry. I keep good control of my tone of voice.

  3. I don’t worry about things I can’t control.

  4. When others lose their self-control and are not nice to me I don’t get upset. I am under self control, not others’ control.

  5. I don’t hang on to bad feelings or disappointments for a long time.

  6. When something bad happens, I move ahead (on) quickly with a positive attitude.

  7. When faced with a bad situation, I usually look for the advantage in the disadvantage; take it on with a positive attitude and get in the solutions department.

 

Praying through Praise


Our prayer for today is a celebration of all of the fruits of the spirit as we close out this time of study before moving on to our next theme: All Saints & Heaven and Earth. So, I invite you to close out this time of reflection by joining in this worship song.



CHORUS 1: You give me Love joy peace patience and faithfulness

Your goodness is here now Self-control kindness and gentleness

Oh You give Your heart to me


CHORUS 2: Love joy peace patience and faithfulness

Your goodness is here now Self-control kindness and gentleness

Oh You give Your heart to me



27 views0 comments

Related Posts

See All

Hello friends - bit of business up front and then we’ll dive into the topic for the day. My final day at Chagrin Falls is Easter Sunday and the blogs will be suspended after that. Thus, the final blog