Confession Time: I have struggled with the word, “self-control” listed as a fruit of the Spirit. I guess it comes from Christians looking at people who were struggling and saying, “they just need self-control.” But I always thought, “If I could control myself, I wouldn’t need the Holy Spirit.” Self-control to me just sounds like I’m relying on my own strength. (By the way, KJV translates the word as temperance.)
So how does self-control and grace coincide? Perhaps it’s not “self”-control but the “Holy Spirit in me” control. Perhaps it’s me submitting to God, giving Him my struggles and He in return giving me the strength to break the addiction, to change my behavior, to control what I say.
Whatever struggle you are facing today, you do not have to rely on “self”. You have the Holy Spirit within you. Ask Him to help you! If you fail, ask Him again. And again. And again. And again. When temptation rises, pray in the Spirit. Allow the Holy Spirit in you do the heavy lifting.
Your struggle is not an indictment on your ability to control yourself. It’s just an invitation to partner with the Holy Spirit and find freedom.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT