Self-control is the last of the nine characteristics of the fruit of the spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5: 22-23. It should be clarified here that the Bible explicitly says the FRUIT of the Spirit is and not the FRUITS of the Spirit are. This is symbolic because we tend to add to the word ignorantly because of our haste in reading, therefore, we misunderstand the context of the verses and believe the wrong messages.
Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
There are nine characteristics of the fruit of the spirit, therefore, I believe in order for us to be considered as bearing fruit we must display all nine characteristics.
Today I speak of the last characteristic which is self-control.
Self-control is the ability to control oneself. “Self–control, an aspect of inhibitory control, is the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behavior in the face of temptations and impulses. As an executive function, self–control is a cognitive process that is necessary for regulating one’s behavior in order to achieve specific goals.” Retrieved from Wikipedia.
Wiki’s definition wants no elaboration. As Christians, we must be able to regulate our behavior, thoughts attitudes and actions. We must constantly put our bodies under subjection according to Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. Paul states that he makes his body his slave.
1 Corinthians 9: 27 (KJV)
27 But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
The NIV translates this to No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
The very definition of self-control tells the importance of applying this force to our lives. The reason to utilize self-control is that we may gain a prize or reach a particular goal. Our goal as Christians is that we attain to the resurrection from the dead. Again Paul states that everything he knew he gave up so he might gain Christ.
Philippians 3: 7-11 (KJV)
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Paul Knew the necessity of self-control and the power that lies in being able to control himself. He spoke a lot about the fruit of the spirit implicitly in his letters. He spoke about self-control in marriage in 1 Corinthians 7 and a lot of other places. All the other writers also saw it fit to speak about self-control as well. Even Solomon saw the importance when he said in Proverbs that “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
(ESV) Proverbs 25:28. This means that this person is attacked from anywhere, any thoughts come into the person’s mind and is accepted, there is no defense against fleshly lust, no covering from anything ungodly the person is just opened to anything that comes from the enemy. Without self-control, we behave like animals and think wicked thoughts and act on them. There is no spiritual insight and a lack of service to God.
Lacking self-control is a cause for a lot of trouble in our lives. We use the tongue to kill ourselves and others. Life and death is in the power of the tongue. Without self-control, we become bitter against each other because we have no control over our thoughts to remember that we ourselves have done wrong to other persons. Without self-control, there is no real foundation in our lives as we constantly chase after things God did not give to us. We become impatient, angry, covetous and malicious without self-control. Without self-control, we chase after the things of the world, all that is in the world in the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.
Who among us a Christians dear to exercise self-control today?