The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23)
The last piece of evidence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life is self-control. But why? Why self-control and what kind of self-control is Paul talking about? When we hear that term we tend to think of controlling one’s temper. While certainly possessing and demonstrating self-control would include not losing one’s temper, is that all? I believe the scripture is speaking about exercising self-control in all things and in every area of one’s life. This is because most sins, if not every sin, are directly connected with and spring forth from the lack of self-control. The reason people curse is because they fail to control their tongue. The reason people get drunk is they cannot stop at just one. The reason people engage in gluttony is they cannot control their appetite. The reason people engage in pornography is because they cannot control their lust. The reason people cheat on their spouse is because they cannot control their sexual urges and/or they cannot control their covetous desires. This last one is what got Adam and Eve into trouble. Being tempted was not a sin. The loss of self-control and giving into that temptation was. When a person is born-again and is made spiritually alive by the Holy Spirit, that person immediately begins to experience greater self-control in every area of his life. Not perfectly, but certainly there is a marked difference from their pre-conversion state. This is because, as scripture says, if you “walk by the Spirit, you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). The Holy Sprit is always leading believers in the direction of holiness and giving them the strength to move in that direction. We simply need to follow his lead.
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