April 11, 2024


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.


In Galatians 5:22-23, the Apostle Paul lists nine attributes that he calls the "fruit of the Spirit". These are qualities that the Holy Spirit develops in the lives of believers as they walk with God. The last fruit mentioned is self-control. Self-control is the ability to master our desires, emotions, and actions. It's being disciplined in what we say, do, think, and feel. The world often promotes indulgence and instant gratification, but as Christians, we are called to a different standard. We are to live controlled by the Spirit, not by our flesh. Paul contrasts the fruit of the Spirit with the "works of the flesh" in the preceding verses. Things like sexual immorality, fits of anger, drunkenness, and rivalries all stem from a lack of self-control. When we live by the flesh, we are slaves to its passions and desires. But when we walk by the Spirit, He empowers us to put to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13). Cultivating self-control requires dependence on God. In our own strength, we will always struggle to subdue our sinful inclinations. We need the Spirit's power working in us. As we abide in Christ, His divine power gives us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). The closer we draw to Him, the more we will resemble Him in character. Self-control also demands practice. Like a muscle, it grows stronger the more we exercise it. Every time we say "no" to temptation and "yes" to God's will, we develop our spiritual stamina. This may involve fleeing certain situations, establishing boundaries, and fixing our minds on what is true and right. Over time, as we sow to the Spirit, we will reap a harvest of righteousness. Ultimately, walking in the Spirit and bearing His fruit is not about rigidly following rules, but about relationship. As Paul says, "against such things there is no law." When we live under grace, secure in God's love for us, we are free to follow His lead. We serve Him not out of obligation, but out of devotion. His desires become our desires, and our lives reflect His goodness. May we keep in step with the Spirit and grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.


The fruit of self-control is one that I have often struggled with in my Christian walk. There are so many areas of life where it's easy to give in to temptation and let my flesh call the shots. Whether it's with food, entertainment, spending, or how I use my time, I frequently find myself indulging more than I should. But when I reflect on this passage in Galatians, I'm reminded that self-control is not optional for believers - it's a necessary evidence of the Spirit's work in our lives. If I claim to follow Christ but consistently lack restraint, something is amiss. I can't compartmentalize my faith and my lifestyle. At the same time, I'm encouraged that developing self-control is a process. None of us will master it perfectly this side of eternity. The key is to keep pursuing growth and relying on God's strength. He is gracious with us in our weakness, but He also calls us to cooperate with His transforming work. I love how these verses connect self-control to our relationships as well. When I'm not governing myself well, it inevitably impacts those around me. If I'm short-tempered with my family, undisciplined with my health, or irresponsible with my resources, it creates strain and dysfunction. But when I'm living by the Spirit, there's a positive overflow. Self-control is ultimately about stewardship and worship. It's recognizing that my life is not my own, but belongs to God. Every decision I make can either honor Him or dishonor Him. When I choose obedience over indulgence, I'm declaring His lordship and delighting in Him. It's not always easy, but it's always worth it. As I ponder this passage, I'm compelled to examine my heart and habits. In what areas do I need to exercise more restraint? How can I lean into the Spirit's empowering presence? What spiritual disciplines and accountability can help me cultivate this fruit? Growing in self-control is a lifelong journey, but it's one we don't walk alone. As we abide in Christ and live by His Spirit, He will shape us more and more into His likeness. May we be quick to repent when we stumble and quick to praise Him for every ounce of progress. For the glory of God and the good of others, let us pursue a life of Spirit-controlled living.


Heavenly Father, Thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit and the fruit He produces in our lives. I confess that self-control is an area where I often struggle. There are so many temptations and distractions that vie for my attention and allegiance. Forgive me for the times I've indulged my flesh instead of walking by Your Spirit. Lord, I recognize that I need Your help to grow in this area. I can't manufacture self-control on my own. Please fill me afresh with Your presence and power. Give me the strength to say "no" to sin and "yes" to righteousness. Help me to crucify my carnal desires and live under Your gracious lordship. Teach me to be disciplined in my thoughts, words, and actions. May I steward well all that You've entrusted to me - my time, talents, resources, and relationships. Keep me from harmful excesses and worthless pursuits. Instead, let me invest in what pleases You and blesses others. Thank You for Your patience with me as I mature in Christlikeness. I trust that as I abide in You, Your Spirit will continue to transform me from the inside out. Cultivate in me a heart that delights to do Your will. May my life overflow with the fruit of self-control for Your glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Generated Image(s)

Yielding to the Spirit's refining, Taming passions, self-control entwining. Fruit of grace, a life renewed, Abiding in Christ, our strength renewed.

Yielding to the Spirit's refining,
Taming passions, self-control entwining.
Fruit of grace, a life renewed,
Abiding in Christ, our strength renewed.

This image was generated by AI from the devotion text.