But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
“You know, self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.” That statement had to be one of the most piercing statements I had ever heard. Dr. Dale Younce was taking prayer requests in my freshman Spiritual Formations class at the University of Mobile. A fellow classmate had requested prayer for his desire to have more time to read his Bible and pray every day. It seemed like a legitimate prayer request to me. Here was a brother in Christ who desired to walk with the Lord closer and needed more time in his busy schedule to spend with the Lord. Until I looked back at Dr. Younce, who with a simple look over the top of his glasses and a softness in his voice said, “You know, self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.”
The fruit of the Spirit are the characteristics displayed in the life of a believer that show everyone they have the Holy Spirit living inside of them. I find this particularly true in the area of self-control. As pastors, church leaders, and followers of Christ what does your self-control display to those around you? Far too often I find pastors who are struggling to find time to prepare for sermons and Bible studies. They struggle to find time to intentionally share their faith. They struggle to find time to spend with their family. They struggle with their weight, and they even struggle to find time to personally spend with the Lord. Yet, they do find time participate in many activities that amount to very little in their life.
As I look back on this encounter with Dr. Younce there are a few truths that are clear:
- As followers of Christ we have the ability to display self-control because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit our lives.
- Self-control is one way that a lost world knows that you are a follower of Christ—don’t blow your witness.
- Anything short of self-control is sin.
Every day I realize that the real problem in my finances, my health, and my devotional life are caused by the man in the mirror not being faithful to display self-control as Christ has called him. Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to have a Savior who loves me regardless and offers forgiveness for my failure to display self-control. Maybe today is your day to look to the Savior and repent of your lack of self-control.