The Last Piece of Fruit
By Joel Greenwood
The Fruit of the Spirit. It’s a list of 9 qualities that a Spirit-led Christian should show, and you can find this list in Galatians 5:22:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
It’s that last one, most of the time, that really gets us. It feels like the hardest was saved for last, so let’s take a moment to talk about self-control!
What is it?
Self-control is the ability for a person to maintain control over their actions, whether they’re facing something big or small. You’re trying to cut down on sugar, and you’re offered one more Oreo? The self-controlled person says no. But it’s not just in the small matters. You believe God values abstinence until marriage? The self-controlled person practices purity.
Self-control is like a muscle. We all have it to some degree, but the people who have unwavering self-control have spent time practicing it, building it up through countless “workouts.”
Why do I need it?
Self-control is practiced all the time, but the times in which it is most important are the moments of temptation. Without it, sin is nearly impossible to resist. With it, we can follow Paul’s command to live a life led by the Spirit, as he says in Galatians 5:16:
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
How can I get it?
The best way to grow in any fruit of the Spirit, especially self-control, is through a regular observance of spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines include practices such as Bible intake, fasting, prayer, stewardship, and silence. If you want to know even more about spiritual disciplines, be on the lookout for a sermon series this summer devoted completely to them!
In the meantime, it never hurts to pray that God would help us grow in our self-control. But be warned: when we pray for an area of growth, God often allows us plenty of opportunity!