Simply teaching the Bible, simply

Self-control (Fruit of the Spirit)

This study was taught at our Sunday evening service by Sim Forder, one of our pastors, on the 8th November 2020. You can listen to the audio on this web page or save it for later listening.

This is the tenth study in our series on the Fruit of the Spirit, something that should be evident in the life of every Christian, and found in the Bible in Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

As taught in our introduction to this series, we should keep in mind the following foundational items;

  • Grace, not works (We don’t show the fruit of the Spirit in order to be saved, but rather we grow fruit because we have been saved – see Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • Fruit, not fruits (Unlike the gifts of the Spirit where different ones are given to different people, we should each demonstrate all the qualities of the fruit of the Spirit – see 2 Peter 1:5-9).
  • Abiding, not striving (We are to abide in Christ. If the branches are not connected, they will not bear fruit. Likewise we must spend time in the Word, and in prayer, or we will not bear fruit – John 15:4).

In this study we specifically looked at self-control, also translated and talked of as temperance and continence; definitions of which include;

  • Self-control: the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, esp. his sensual appetites
  • Temperance: abstinence from alcoholic drink, & control or restraint of oneself or one’s actions/feelings
  • Continence: in the sense of controlling what comes out of your mouth

First, we considered how much a lack of self-control leads to works of the flesh as described by Paul in Galatians 5:19-21, and then what else the Bible has to say on self control;

  • It is not convenient – see Acts 24:25
  • There may be a cost – see Philippians 3:7-11
  • It is counter-cultural – see 2 Timothy 3:1-3
  • It is not just about not doing things – see James 4:17

But how do we pursue self control?

  • Remember that self-control may be evident in our actions, but it starts in with thoughts
    • See 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, James 1:14-15
  • As Proverbs says – wisdom is the principle thing. So, pursue wisdom!
    • See Proverbs 6:27, 1 Corinthians 7:8-9, Romans 13:14
  • Third, we simply need to be obedient
    • See Proverbs 25:16, Daniel 1:8
  • Fourth, we need to work at our self-control
    • See 1 Corinthians 9:25
  • We need to be filled with the Spirit
    • See Ephesians 5:18

Throughout this 10-week series we studied one quality of the Fruit of the Spirit each week, with all studies now available on our web site. Separately, it is worth listening to our previous study on this chapter here.


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