Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Timothy 1:7 ; Various
FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT - Self-Control
Good evening and welcome to our nightly Bible devotional.
Here we are on day 10 of our exploration of the the spiritual fruit that are found in Galatians 5:22-23. These spiritual fruit are in stark contrast to the fruit of the flesh. Spiritual fruit is produced when we stay in step with the Holy Spirit on this faith walk we call being a Christian. The Spirit helps us to produce what God desires in our lives. The fruit are actually all characteristics of God himself. The more we stay in step with the Spirit the more we take on the characteristics of or Lord.
The spiritual fruit is more like the slices of an orange than individual kinds of fruit. They are all one fruit in which we are supposed to produce all of and not just a couple of the aspects or slices. God wants us to be well-rounded and beautiful in spirit.
By now you should know these 9 slices by heart? Are you ready to says them with me. The slices are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the aspects or slices that we are supposed to produce. Each of these slices builds on the one previously so we must produce all the aspects of the fruit of the spirit.
Tonight we are taking on the last slice of the spiritual fruit called self-control. It may be the last but it is definitely not the least. Self-control can be very, very challenging. So let’s dive in and see why that is.
The dictionary says that self-control is the ability to control oneself, in particular one's emotions and desires or the expression of them in one's behavior, especially in difficult situations. Now this is very true. When we let the flesh control our behavior we act on impulse and work to fulfill our own needs regardless of who or what stand in our way. And we often let emotions fly. Self-control is what we need. Especially we need to have a little bit of self-restraint when it comes to social media. Come on people!
The Greek word used in Galatians 5:23 IS ἐγκράτεια - egkrateia (eng-krat’-i-ah) which means mastery, self-restraint, or self-control. It comes from two words “en” which means “in the sphere of” and “kratos” which means “mastery or dominion”. It means to have proper dominion proceeding out from within oneself. For the believer, this kind of dominion over self can only be accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why it is a slice of the spiritual fruit.
Self-control helps us to resist temptation and avoid conforming to the things of this world. It guides our decisions, and it correlates with how we show the other fruits in our lives. When we master the other spiritual fruit we will notice how easy self-control comes. That’s perseverence leads to endurance. The more we persevere in the other fruit the easier it is to do more and more.
We need to remember that self-control is a matter of responding rather than reacting. Proverbs 25:28 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” When we react to a situation our emotions go into overdrive and we respond out of anger or frustration rather than stepping back, thinking about it, and responding in a gentler way. As Christians, our responses to situations are to be guided by the fruits of the Spirit.
But self-control goes beyond controlling our emotions and keeping a lid on things. I have had the opportunity today to pray for those people who have addictions. Addictions come in different kinds from alcohol and drugs, to pornography and sex, to video games and computer apps, to compulsive behaviors, bad habits, eating disorders, and more. IT’S HARD TO CONTROL AN ADDICTION. But the Lord can help you. That’s why I said that self-control can be so challenging. Jesus wants us to be free from addiction so the Holy Spirit works to help set us free. It takes work. But addiction can be overcome.
Jesus Christ gives us the perfect example of self-control, because He lived a sinless life and possessed every fruit of the Spirit. Jesus demonstrated self-control because He was sent to earth to carry out the Father’s will. He was to live a perfect life in order to set an example for us, and in the end, He died for our sins so that we may have eternal life.
One of my favorite verses is 2 Timothy 1:7 which says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Say that again with me. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” With the Holy Spirit inside of us, we are able to possess self-control and demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit. As a result, we can live in a way that is honorable to God.
So, next time you feel like you are losing it. If you are in a tough situation, or feeling the temptation. Just remember Jesus and the perfect example he gave us of how to live. While it may seem challenging to demonstrate self-control, the rewards will be great.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear God Almighty, I praise you for Jesus and the example of self-control that he is in my life. I ask that you help me to have dominion over all my thoughts, emotions, and actions. Help me to exhibit the spiritual fruit of self-control. It is in Jesus’ name that I pray. AMEN!
Let’s go produce some fruit.2 Peter 1:5-7 says, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” So go and produce the spiritual slice of Self-Control today. I hope you will join us tomorrow night at 6pm for an all new devotional episode. God bless you and have a great night.