Fruit of the Spirit: SELF-CONTROL


By Bethany Bettenhausen

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” –Galatians 5:22

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that His very own, eager to do what is good.” –Titus 2:11-14

My kids are aged two, four and six, so a lot of learning and growing goes on in our house. One of the lessons we are most striving to learn is self-control.

“Don’t touch that.”

“Make good choices.”

“Let’s not act that way.”

“Please calm down.”

Many of the behaviors I am correcting are rooted in a lack of self-control. Daily my kids do not display self-control in some area of their lives; therefore, it must be imposed upon them.

At times, the number of corrections in the span of a week gets frustrating, yet when I take a step back and quiet my spirit, I see myself reflected in my kids. How many times do I fall short in a week’s time? Many times I choose to live in my own strength and fail to say “no” to my fleshly desires instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to bear the fruit of self-control in my life.

While my failures are discouraging, I am encouraged when I think about God’s grace offered so freely to me. Just as God is helping me to patiently teach my children to learn to say “no” to their immature and sometimes destructive desires, the Holy Spirit is teaching me to say “no” to “ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live” a self-controlled life. Just like God has placed my children under my care for a short while so I can instruct them in the Lord, so also God has given me this short time on earth to grow me through His good work of sanctification. Until the Lord calls me home or returns, He promises to keep patiently teaching me by His Holy Spirit who lives within me to be more and more like Him.

My prayer for my children and myself is that we will learn to surrender ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. As we mature, may we would be people “eager to do what is good” that we may be a light to the world and please “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us.”

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