Summary: Where do you need the spiritual grace of self-control? Seek the Lord for direction, and let Him mold you into a Disciple that is controlled at all times and in all circumstances by the Holy Spirit.
“. . . the fruit of the spirit is . . . self-control. . .” (Gal. 5:22-23)
Not too long ago I watched the movie “Castaway” with Tom Hanks. He was stranded on this island after a plane crash in the ocean. He had nothing to eat at first but coconuts. He had to master the art of opening a coconut, especially without spilling the coconut milk. As hard as it was to open the coconuts, he finally developed a technique of doing it and he reaped the benefits of his efforts.
Today we are going to talk about a fruit that just may be the hardest or one of the hardest for us to get to. It may be one of the hardest for us to crack open. The great thing about the fruit of self-control is once you get it open, you will reap the wonderful milk inside. This fruit of self-control is a fruit that opens many great things to us in life. What this fruit will do for every area of your life is a wonderful blessing waiting to happen! Today we will finish up our series on the fruit of the Spirit with an examination of the fruit of Self-Control. This fruit is one that will be worth the effort to obtain!
• The meaning in the original means: “to grip” or to “take hold of.”
• This word describes a person who is willing to get a grip on their lives and take control of areas that will bring them success or failure.
• It is the power to keep oneself in check.
• It is the quality that gives victory over fleshly desires.
How well are you able to handle self-control? For instance, how well do you handle your speed in school zones? 20 mph is not very fast. You’re driving along at 40 or 45 mph and suddenly you have to consciously almost step on the brake to get your speed down to 20mph. Would you be as conscientious of the school zones if there was no fear of getting a speeding ticket?
If we were truthful, we would probably try to push the limit every chance we get. In fact that has been proven to be the case. That is why they raised the fines and increased the patrols. Unless you intentionally keep a diligent eye on the speedometer and exercise self-control, you will be speeding through a school zone. Self-control does not “come naturally.”
Although the ancient Greeks highly regarded the virtue of self-control and often praised it in their literature, the Bible rarely mentions it. Self-control is the ability to manage your own actions and emotions. As Christians we are to always be controlled by the Holy Spirit Himself. For the Christian, self-control is the result of a life entirely directed by the Holy Spirit.
Anything uncontrolled can harm you and your relationships.
• Think about people who accomplish things, they have the ability to exercise self-control.
• John Maxwell writes: “In reading about the lives of great people, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves.”
• There was an office sign that read: “If you could kick the person responsible for most of your troubles, you wouldn’t be able to sit for a week.”
• It is always easy to blame others for our failures, but many times we are our own worst enemy because we lacked the self-control to put in the effort we should have to be successful.
• The Bible talks about some areas in our lives that are negatively affected when uncontrolled.
• Anger- Proverbs 29:11; “A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back.”
Uncontrolled Lust- Proverbs 6:26; “For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread.”
Uncontrolled Spending- Proverbs 21:20; “There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man swallows it up.”
Drinking- Proverbs 23:29-35; READ from Bible.
Uncontrolled Ambition- Proverbs 23:4. READ from Bible.
• And the list goes on. When we loose control of areas of our life, that area will hurt us.
Do you know what the Biblical prerequisite for self-control is? It’s self-denial.
Self-denial is the surrender of my own personal interests and desires in favor of those of others. As a Disciple of Jesus Christ it means I completely abandon my right to demand my own way and let the Holy Spirit take complete charge and control of my life.
As a result, doing the will of God becomes second nature to me. My daily walk with Jesus under the direction of the Holy Spirit has been renewed so often that it seems completely natural or inborn to do things His way, not mine.
For the Christian, self-control is a spiritual grace. In the secular world we often associate self-control with willpower. Self-control or willpower would be implemented in such things as dieting, quitting smoking, exercise, gambling, alcohol, work habits, ethics, and living within your means. These are only just a few; you can probably add many others to this list.