Self-Control is a fruit of the Spirit. Actually, it is the ninth and last fruit of the Spirit. Most of us struggle with self-control in one area or another. But, what exactly is self-control?
The Greek word translated as ‘self-control,’ egkrateia, is derived from two other Greek words—en and kratos. En means ‘in’ and kratos means ‘strength’ or ‘power.’ Usually, the Bible refers to self-control as ‘temperance,’ meaning self-restraint or moderation.
Although, some people interpret self-control to mean abstinence.
While this is the last of the fruit listed, it is certainly not the least. In fact, it can be one of the hardest to get a handle on.
Also, it takes a lot of self-control to exercise the other eight fruit of the spirit.
Consequences of a Lack of Self-Control
Temptation to sin is everywhere and we often lack the self-restraint to stop when they should. Many of us find ourselves tempted to overeat, overdrink, overspend or overindulge in something. This fruit of the Spirit is especially important.
In Proverbs we are told:
This is a picture of no safety, no protection.
We need to be self-controlled and alert, because the devil, “prowls around like a roaring lion seeking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
We don’t have to be afraid, however, because the devil flees when we submit ourselves to God (James 4:7).
Self-Control vs. Patience
Also, some people mistake self-control with patience; however, they are starkly different.
Self-control allows you to keep your mind focused on God while avoiding the temptation of your desires. Patience, on the other hand, is more about enduring delay, difficult circumstances, etc. without getting angry or upset.
Help From the Holy Spirit
Many worldly temptations can be strong and oftentimes people say that they cannot control themselves. Ultimately, they cannot control themselves without the power of God.
The Apostle Paul reminds us that grace not only brings salvation but also trains us to live self-controlled lives (2 Timothy 1:11). Additionally, God has given Christians a spirit of self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).
What this means is that our ability to control ourselves in the midst of temptations comes from the Holy Spirit living inside us and learning to walk with Him (Galatians 5:25).
With the help of our faith and learning to walk with the Holy Spirit our self-control can be stronger. Like the other fruit of the Spirit, it is a process of learning to let the Holy Spirit teach us. It is a process of learning to walk with Him on a daily basis.
Self Control is Also a Choice
However, there’s another important aspect of self-control in the bible. It is a choice. We are told to choose self-control in the bible. It is both Holy Spirit empowered and by our own choice.
As with most of us, our biggest spiritual enemy is usually ourselves. I know that I am my own worst critic and can lead to a lack of self-control out of stress. However, with God’s help, we can learn to conquer our temptations and learn to embrace the fruit of self-control.
The more we draw close to God in prayer, studying the Bible and worship the more we will have the ability to exhibit our own self-control. Remember it is a fruit of the spirit and the Holy Spirit is the one working it in us as we grow in faith.
However, it is also a choice. The two work hand-in hand. I praise God that He never leaves us alone and will never tempt us beyond our ability to handle it. He always provides a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13).
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