By Pastor Alex Ruelo
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Have you ever wondered why self-control was the last fruit of the spirit mentioned in this verse? There is probably a reason why love was mentioned first and self-control was the last. Before you can manifest the fruit of the spirit, you have to exhibit godly love. But it takes self-control to show this instead of simply exhibiting lust or infatuation. Ephesians 5:2 says, “and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” It takes self-control to show true and godly love. 1 Peter 1:8 says “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” It also takes self-control to show godly joy. It helps you choose to be happy because there are some people who choose to be unhappy. It also takes self-control to get along with others rather than quickly condemning them . Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Paul asked the people to be patient with everybody. That also takes self-control. It also takes the latter to automatically look out for other people rather than only yourself. It takes self-control to do good. Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” You do good to other people while also being aware of those who are trying to abuse you. It takes self-control to be faithful and not have your faith be shattered by the mocking of scoffers, as mentioned in 2 Peter. You try to be faithful and keep the faith in spite of what is happening around you. Finally, it takes self-control to be a gentle servant of the Lord. You need to show compassion in the things that you do with the people you encounter everyday. Proverbs 14:29 says, “People with understanding show great anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.”
For Christians, self-control is not only about temperament or simply not getting angry. Self-control is about pretty much everything. It is not mastered overnight. The fruit of the spirit takes times to manifest itself. The goal of every Christian is to be able to glorify God in everything that you do. Yes, you fail, but you try to discipline yourself in so many ways.
The biggest enemy of self-control is yourself. Being a Christian, the flesh is your worst enemy. Many problems are the result of no discipline and self-control. When you get sick, you begin to take vitamins and medicine. You tell yourself that you will exercise and workout everyday to make your body healthy. But you should have done those things before you got sick in the first place. It could have prevented you from getting sick. They say that prevention is better than cure. But you make excuses by telling yourself that you forgot to take care of yourself when if fact, you really did not have discipline and self-control.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” The first thing you need to control is your mind. This is where all things begin. You need to catch yourself when you start to think of negative things about other people, about your job, about the church and the government too. There is no quick and easy way to develop self-control. It is a process that takes years to master. You need to control and discipline your mind. The second thing you need to control is your tongue. In Matthew 15:18, it says, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” Many people get hurt from the words you say. You even need to control your fingers because nowadays, you can simply text someone or post something on social media. James said you need to discipline your tongue because it can destroy a person’s life, the entire nation or even the whole world. Lastly, you need to discipline your actions. James also said that faith that does not involve action is false. Your actions exhibit what you believe in.
So how can you improve your self-control? You have to catch yourself in the things that you do. Your thoughts, words and actions are your entirety. You need to understand that self-control is a supernatural gift. Ask the Holy Spirit and be filled with the presence of God everyday. When you are faced with certain things that challenge your self-control, ask God. Ask God for the specific things you need throughout the day. If you do not ask, you will not get anything. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” Self-control is a gift of the Spirit. You. need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit so that you can receive His power. You need to listen and hear His voice. The only way to be able to do that is if you read the Bible everyday. Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” The problem is man always wants to do the desires of the flesh. Remember that when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your spirit became alive. You need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit who tells you what to do all the time. God also gave His only Son so that you can live life in abundance, as He had planned. Many people simply enjoy life’s worldly pleasures. If you do not listen to the Spirit, then you might fall. Lastly, you need to follow the example of Jesus. He is the perfect example for man to follow. He gave everything so that man can live. He showed you how. Dig into the Bible.