“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
We will wrap up the Fruit of the Spirit series by discussing self-control, which is one of the most important fruits to possess.
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.
For example, forbearance, or patience, requires self-control. Proverbs 14:29 says, “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” Our sinful nature leads us to give into our temper, but we are called to rise above this and show patience.
Self-control can be applied to all of the fruits of the Spirit in the same way it is applied to forbearance.
Displaying self-control is often a matter of responding rather than reacting. When we react to a situation, we let our emotions take control. We are more likely to become defensive and say hurtful things. Responding, however, involves developing a thoughtful response that is guided by reason more than emotions.
As Christians, our responses to situations are to be guided by the fruits of the Spirit.
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.
In Matthew 26:53-54, Jesus says, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”
Jesus knew what He was sent to Earth to do, and despite his own fears, He demonstrated self-control in submitting to the Father’s perfect plan. Without the self-control of Jesus, we would face death as the punishment of our sin.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “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 are in a tough situation, 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.
Read other devotionals from GCU's Spiritual Life blog here.