God's word in today's world

Fruit of the Spirit: Self-control

22… able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. This is the fruit of self-control. The Spirit must help us with this, but do we allow the Holy Spirit to do his work in us? Sometimes we simply enjoy taking over the wheel again.

The last fruit of the spirit concerns self-control. How much control do you have over yourself? When a taxi cuts in front of you, how much control do you have over your hands? When your spouse or other family member does or says something you don’t totally agree with, how much control do you have over your tongue? How quickly does your pot start boiling? When a scantily clad lady appears on your screen gesturing for you to come closer, how much self-control do your fingers have on the keyboard? If you already have had a glass or two, how strong is your self-control to stop from pouring another one?

Some of the answers don’t come quickly. It actually makes you feel bad, because we know that we, some more than others, sometimes lose control. Losing control sounds quite bad. But this is precisely what from time to time causes us to do the wrong things. We live outside the Holy Spirit’s control. You see, when we are under the control of the Holy Spirit we won’t give the finger to the guy who cuts in front of us. We won’t lose our temper when our spouse and loved ones say something wrong about us. We will not accept invitations from the lady showing so much of her body. We will not lose control and type three-letter words in Google. We will have self-control to stop at the right amount of drinks.


Last night as my wife and I were standing beside the fire she said something about me that I really didn’t agree with. And off I went, my reaction certainly not that of one who is under the control of the Holy Spirit. As we held hands at the table to say grace, she laughingly held out a knife so that I could hold onto the other end. In a playful manner she brought my little explosion to my attention. I realised that my reaction was out of control. It was a struggle, but I managed to mumble an apology.

And while I look back on the fruit of the Spirit, I certainly realise that we all still need lots of work. I realise that we move away from the control of the Holy Spirit far too quickly, wanting to take control ourselves. Unfortunately, when we are in control of ourselves the consequences are catastrophic. I also realise that when we’ve given our lives to God and the Spirit comes to live in us, we still want to take back control. We have to fight against this desire. I also realise that when I push aside the Spirit and take control, I must confess my sin and give back the control. God’s grace is so huge that the Holy Spirit will not leave. He waits until I realise my mistake and stands waiting with open hands to take over control of my life again. Again and again.

It is an enormous privilege to bear the fruit of the Spirit, but it is also an instruction. All of us must try to let the Holy Spirit take control of our fingers, hands, tongues and eyes. Control of everything, because the world desperately needs it. The world longs for the healthy fruit of the Spirit. The world is tired of meaningless plastic fruit. People long for real fruit that only the Holy Spirit can give. The Holy Spirit wants to use you to share that kind of fruit with the world.

May we hand over control of our lives to the Holy Spirit more and more. The world will look different then!

Galatians 5:13-23


What pushes you quickly out of the starting gate?

Where are you not always in control?

What can you do about it?



Father, I struggle. I really struggle to be in control everywhere. Before I know it I explode, leaving a small battle field around me. Please help me, Lord, to breathe before I speak. Please help me to think before I speak and help me to never lose sight of the other person’s humanity. Amen

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