What About Self-Control?

bible opened on tablet with pencil and notebook.

As I continue my teaching of the nine fruits of the Spirit, I have two more fruits that I have not talked about yet. I would like to discuss the term self-control. The scripture listing of the nine fruits of the Spirit is in Galatians 5:22-23(ASV) which says: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such, there is no law.”.  Self-control is simply how someone controls themselves both in their thoughts, words, and actions. Someone’s ability of self-control can be reflected in how they handle difficult situations.  So how are we as followers of Christ to control ourselves? And how does being born again in Christ change our self-control?

When you have accepted Christ as your savior the old in you is gone, and the new in you has started. You might feel you won’t ever have self-control from poor habits of sin, but when you accept Christ as your savior the past is the past, and you have a new beginning ahead by staying in His word. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV) tells us, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”. We are saved or born again through our faith in what Jesus Christ did on the cross for us. Like the scripture tells us that old things are gone and everything following our salvation becomes new. This is not as simple as just saying the sinner prayer, you must believe the Word of God with faith, and read the word of God, and live according to the Word of God. Ephesians 2:8-9 (WEB) tells us “for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast.”.  Acting in faith and believing go hand in hand, therefore we must believe in Jesus to have eternal life as it is written in John 3:16 (WEB), “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”.

Like the scripture tells us through our faith when we become saved, all things of the past remain old, and everything following our salvation is new. You might ask how this is possible? Can a criminal become saved and be made new in Christ? Absolutely! Of course, any criminal will have to face a punishment for their wrongdoing according to the law of the land in which they live in. You might ask how someone’s sinful past can just go away, especially if their sin was a bad habit. Of course, there will be memories of actions done and words said in the natural world, but in the spiritual world after proclaiming your life for Christ you start a clean slate as it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that I quoted earlier. Romans 12:2 (ESV) tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”. When we live according to the nature of the world which is full of sin and darkness that starts to overrule our life in the natural world, which in turn will overrule our life in the spiritual sense. But when we live according to what the will of God is, by knowing his word we renew our mind and know what is right and wrong. This change first happens in the spirit realm, then this can overrule the natural realm. Colossians 3:2 (KJV) tells us: “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”. The things of this earth are only temporary. We won’t have the things of this earth when we pass away. So why worry so much on the stress of this world if our focus should be on the word of God, which is eternal? This all comes down to self-control.

When we become saved through Christ, all things are new for us in our Spirit. When we become saved what does God give us in our Spirit? The answer is in 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV), which says “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”.  A sound mind sounds a lot like what I talked about in my teaching of God is Our Peace just recently. However, let’s look at the Amplified Bible on this scripture. 2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP) “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control] .”. Notice in the Amplified Bible it uses the term self-discipline which means self-control.  2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”. Once we are saved, we must know the Word of God by our minds and heart, so we can apply it both to the spirit realm and the natural realm. Psalm 119:10-11 (WEB) tells us “With my whole heart, I have sought you. Don’t let me wander from your commandments. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”.  We must also apply an important scripture in the book of James that will help us with self-control. James 1:19 (KJV) tells us, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”.

To have self-control as a new creation in Christ we must first know the word of God, apply it to our lives both in the spiritual realm and the natural realm, and we must also act according to the Word of the God. When you are born again and acting in your faith according to God’s word, people will notice a positive change in you. People will often notice something that is different within you, this can often open the door to you bringing someone to Christ. I challenge you as a follower in Christ to assess the areas in your life in which you are lacking self-control? Once you identify those areas seek God to help you grow in your weakness. You can also look up specific scriptures to help you with what you are lacking, it is very easy to find scriptures today with modern technology. Also, you can seek help from other believers, as believers we must stick together and help build each other up. Hebrews 10:25 (ESV) tells us, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”.  Once you identify areas in self-control in which you are weak, identify areas where you are weak in the other eight fruits of the Spirit. In my next teaching, I will talk about the fruit of goodness and putting all the nine fruits of the Spirit together.



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