“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
“The Holy Spirit is the only sufficient means of true mortification. Mortification is a gift of the Crucified, Risen, Ascended Christ, and is mediated through the Spirit. He works in three ways. He causes the heart to abound in grace and in the fruit of the Spirit. The antidote to corruption is being filled with the Spirit. But He also acts in a real physical efficiency on the root and habit of sin, for the weakening, destroying, and taking it away.” Sinclair Ferguson
Self-control (ἐγκράτεια; enkrateia) means to actively exercise complete control over one’s desires and actions. This pursuit is a cooperative effort by the believer in Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. In other words, self-control is to make one’s heart (intellect; emotions; will) obedient to the Word of God.
I Corinthians 9:25-27 says, “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
The Apostle Paul saw the importance of exercising self-control in his personal walk in Christ. He knew that it only took one, unguarded moment to undermine a lifetime of ministry and service.
Proverbs 4:23-27 says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”
Self-control involves guarding what you say. It also means guarding what you look at or gaze upon. Additionally, it means considering where you are going and what you plan on doing when you arrive at your destination. Self-control means to turn away from evil.
Dr. R. C. Sproul says, “Basically, to have self-control means that we behave in a manner appropriate to the given situation. It means we defer when it is appropriate to defer. It means we speak when we need to speak. It means that we control our tempers and do not blow up every time things do not go our way. It means that we ignore the minor mistakes of others instead of trying to prove that we are always right.”
However, self-control also means that we stand for the truth of God at all times. Dr. Sproul comments that, “When we seek to practice self-control in our lives, we must take care that we do not become wimps. Jonathan Edwards offers helpful advice by saying that when it comes to matters of truth and integrity, we cannot yield to other people. If someone is teaching rank heresy, for example, exercising self-control and behaving in a manner appropriate to the situation means that we call attention to the matter and stand up for the truth.”
Are you a person who displays self-control? What are your strong areas regarding this Fruit of the Spirit? What are your weak-points? Ask God to reveal to you the areas of your life where your self-control is strong and the areas in which you need His strength to become more self-controlled.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!