Self-control – The Fruit of the Holy Spirit
Self-control is one of the 9 characteristics or fruit of the Holy Spirit according to Galatians 5:22-23.
According to Galatians 5:22-23 the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;”
The virtue of self-control is an important quality that should be part of the character of any human being.
The Greek word for self-control is “egkrateia”, which means having command or “mastery over”, or possession of “one’s own behavior.”
Therefore Self-control is defined as: the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions, impulses and desires, especially in difficult situations;
the ability to not show your feelings or not do the things that your feelings make you want to do;
the control or restraint of oneself or one’s actions, feelings, etc.
Without self-control people fall into all kinds of temptations and evil desires. Self-control enables us to reject the works of the flesh because we are given the strength and ability by the Holy Spirit to resist our natural fleshly lusts.
Galatians 5:16 says: But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh
So the Holy Spirit has given us the virtue of self-control to enable us to reject the temptations of the flesh.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it
Below are several areas in which we must exercise self-control with the guidance of the Holy Spirit
1. Self-control in our thoughts and emotions – For example a person with self-control must be able to control his/her anger. Self-control enables us to use the appropriate emotions at the appropriate time in the appropriate measure.
Proverbs 16:32 says: Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
Other examples which relate to controlling our thoughts relate to resisting lustful or sexual thoughts and for temptations that pervert our minds and how we express or emotions.
2. Self-control in our speech – The Bible consistently teaches us to control our speech or how we communicate with others. In James 3:1-12 the Bible emphasizes the importance of learning to tame the tongue.
Proverbs 10:19 says: When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
James 1:19-20 says: Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Colossians 4:6 says: Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Therefore we need the Holy Spirit to help us control our speech so that we learn to edify others with our speech instead of destroying.
3. Self-control in our actions or behavior – The Holy Spirit can help us control our actions so that we resist a behavior and lifestyle that is contrary to the nature of God.
For example through self-control the Holy Spirit can help us resist drug or alcohol addictions or pornography. Self-control will help us to resist the temptation to commit sexual sins such as adultery.
Self-control that is guided by the Spirit of God will enable us to resist the desires of the flesh so that we walk in obedience to God’s word.
So as Christians we are required to exercise self-control in every area of our life because Christians should pursue a life of godliness
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 says: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
The Holy Spirit enables us to portray the nature of Christ. Self-control enables us to resist the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
Self-control is one of the main virtues we need in our daily Christian walk. So when we yield to the Spirit, our daily lifestyle and manner of living will reflect the character and nature of God in everything we do.
2 Peter 1:5-7 says: In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
A person who does not have self-control is a person who does not submit to the rules and authority of God. For without self-control, chaos and evil reigns in the life of a person.
Therefore if a person is to grow spiritually he/she must have self-control as a virtue.