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Online Articles

Fruit of the Spirit



From the time Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit man has struggled with self-control. The ability to maintain self-control is essential for Christians. We all struggle with it and even the seemingly innocent overindulgence can produce sinful behavior and then we are separated from God.

None of us want to be apart from God so how do we keep in control? The first thing we need to do is become knowledgeable. Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” Study of the scriptures tells us that we will not be tempted beyond what we can handle and the lord will always provide a way out. Recognizing that and taking that way out is up to us to do. Let’s use this analogy, you love to eat pizza and when you start you cannot stop eating it until it is gone. You lack the self-control it takes to stop. What if you were in a pizza parlor and you had all the pizza in the world to eat.  So you begin to eat when you sense someone standing there, you turn and it’s a doctor, he says eat one more piece and you will have a stroke and die. I bet you could stop. Well this may be a harsh analogy but being sinful is death and is that not the same?

Point is “we can stop”. The ability is in each and every one of us. We just have to apply restraint. Self-control is one of the fruits of the spirit and a very important one to master. Doing that is necessary to achieve all of the others. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”  

Without self-control could we attain the others? The scripture also tells us that without self-control it is like a city that has no sturdy walls. Proverbs 25:28 “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” No boundaries no laws just chaos. Our body is our temple and without self-control our temple walls are flimsy and weak and we can be overtaken by sin. The devil will tell you that it is ok just this once to let go, cast your cares to the wind and live a little. Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Letting Satan make you think living like that is ok for a while will mutate and turn into a sinful uncontrolled lifestyle. The more of the world you let in the harder and harder it is to stop. We cannot live both ways; it is impossible. We have to be aware at all times and in control of our behavior. We have to pray and ask god to help. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” We have to study the gospel and edify one another encourage and guide one another.

We have to surround ourselves with other Christians. Putting ourselves in situations where we can lose our self-control is dangerous. It’s like jumping into an alligator pit and expecting not to get bit!! If you’re an alcoholic, stay out of bars and away from people who drink, same goes for other sinful behaviors resist with all of your heart and when you stumble get up and ask to be forgiven and turn away from that sin. 1 Corinthians 5:11 says “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.”  

We have to work on self-control. Titus 2:12 states “Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.” We have to practice self-control to be good at it. Figure out ways to overcome and avoid temptations and recognize when God has made that path clear. We need to remove ourselves from those situations. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps”, Proverbs 16:9.

Our prize is getting to spend the rest of eternity with our father in heaven. Moments of fleshly satisfaction here on earth can cost us that prize if we do not reel in that uncontrolled behavior. 1 Corinthians 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.” We must deny ourselves and pick up our cross and follow Jesus.

-Terry Ryan