As we wrap up our guest blog series by Debra, how has God challenged you? Which fruit of the Spirit do you need God to develop in you more fully?
We have come to the last fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 – self-control.
Vine’s Bible dictionary defines self-control as the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites. Another dictionary says sensual is defined as pertaining to, inclined to, or preoccupied with the gratification of the senses or appetites; carnal; fleshly; worldly; materialistic.
I think of self-control as the power and ability to respond and react in ways that are honoring to the Lord, instead of ways the enemy wants us to act. My old sinful nature just wants to please myself. The Holy Spirit is waiting for us to ask Him to help us act, sound and be like Jesus. Usually that is a huge difference! When I am allowing the Holy Spirit to work in my life, showing self-control means that I am also exhibiting other fruit of the Spirit too.
There are so many Bible verses that address our attitudes, actions and reactions. The book of Proverbs gives a great deal of contrasts in what to do instead of what not to do. It contrasts wise choices with the unwise. I recommend reading through the book to get some good reminders.
God gives us all the same power through the Holy Spirit to live a life pleasing to Him. Although we do have to make the decisions on how we will respond and live, it is only through His power that we can be successful.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”
The apostle, Paul, wrote a letter to a man named Titus who was in charge of choosing men to be leaders in the church, and teaching men and women to lead by example in their spheres of influence. Notice that all groups of people are directed to be self-controlled.
Titus 1:8 “Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.”
Titus 2:2 “Older men are to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.”
Titus 2:3-5 “Older women are to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
Titus 2:6 “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.”
Here are some verses that show the importance of having self-control and being alert, watchful and ready to pray.
Proverbs 25:28 “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”
Titus 2:11-12 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”
1 Peter 1:13-14 “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.”
1 Peter 4:7 “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”
1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Our challenge is to ask the Holy Spirit to have control over every part of us each morning when we wake up, and then again as we go through our days. This will include our thoughts, attitudes, actions, words, etc.
Here is my prayer for you.
Colossians 1:9-12 “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”