The ninth, and final, fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 is self-control.
Self-control is as it sounds: the ability to control one’s self. There are some things that we can’t always control. We can’t always control our temptations. We can’t always control the first things that pop into our minds. We can’t always control the instinct of a first-impression about someone else.
But we can control how we respond.
Self-control is a combination of discipline and responsibility. Self-control realizes that no one can force our hand, we are ultimately responsible for our own actions. Self-control also puts in work to be able to control our actions.
Paul described such discipline in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27:
Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable crown. So I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
Paul didn’t want sinful actions to get the best of him in the end, so he fought for self-control. In doing so: He kept his eye on the prize, he stayed focused, and he practiced good habits.
This is how the Spirit helps us to grow in self-control. He keeps our eyes fixed on Jesus and the great joys of eternity. He gives us new purpose in life, living to love God supremely and love others deeply. And he works in our lives, a process known of sanctification, to help us weed out the bad (sinful) and practice the good (God-honoring).
So let us strive through the Spirit for greater self-control.
Scripture references taken from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB).
This concludes our series on the fruit of the Spirit. Check out the other posts in this series here: