The fruit of the Holy Spirit includes all nine of the virtues listed in Galatians 5. Not six, or four or seven but all nine: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Many people are okay with the joy, peace, goodness, kindness, etc that Paul mentioned but the brakes go on a bit when we come to the last fruit of the Spirit in the list: self-control. Here’s the thing; self-control in our lives is just as important as love, joy, peace and so on. In a soceity where everything goes and self-gratification is at an all time high, the discipline of self-control is needed more than ever. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that cultivating this fruit of the Spirit is vital to our relationship with God and the people in our lives.

Proverbs 25:28; John 3:3b; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:14-15; Galatians 5:16-17, 22-23a, 25; Colossians 2:23; James 3:2

A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls. Proverbs 25:28

Every follower of Jesus experiences a civil war in their lives. There are two natures fighting for control in this war. One is called the old nature. Every human being is born with this old nature. The Bible refers to it as the sinful nature. The other nature is called the new nature. Every Christian gets this new nature when they are born again. When a person becomes born-again, their body becomes the house or ‘the temple’ of the Holy Spirit. In a marvelous supernatural spiritual transaction, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us when we surrender our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

When that happens, the Holy Spirit and our old sinful nature begin to battle each other for control of our lives. When the Holy Spirit wins the fight, he controls our thinking and our actions. When that happens, our physical body is used for God’s good purposes. But if the old sinful nature controls our thinking and actions then our body can be used in a way that doesn’t honor God and can become a tool of sin. Because the Holy Spirit and the old sinful nature have different agendas, they create conflict in us. The things that are good, healthy and God honoring are going to clash with the things that are not. As long as we’re alive, this battle will rage for the control of our thoughts and actions.

If you could remove one of the fruits of the Spirit from the Galatians 5 list, which would it be and why? Which fruit of the Spirit would your friends say needs more work in your life? On a scale of 1-10 where are you with self-control? How early in life should parents stress self-control to their children? Why is self-control so hard to attain in the culture in which we live? When was the last time you saw self-control working in your life? When was the last time self-control was out of control in your life? How important is self-control to you? Which of your friends exhibit self-control in their personal lives?

Pray and surrender your life to the work of the Holy Spirit and ask Him to produce all of the fruit of the Spirit in you. Allow the Holy Spirit to remove the things in your life that stand in opposition to the fruit growing in you.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the Holy Spirit that works in my life to produce the fruit of the Spirit. I akcnowledge my total dependance on Him to make these nine virtues come alive in me so that I might be more like Jesus. I choose to be rooted in you so that the fruit of the Spirit can grow to its full potential in me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.