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!
Looking at this verse and seeing what the fruits of the Holy Spirit are, one seems a little out of place for me. Sure, love, patience, gentleness, all those make sense but self control? What does self control have to do with the Holy Spirit?
Well, turns out it has plenty to do with the Spirit. I have to ask the Spirit for it every day. God loved us so much that He set us free. Freedom to make our own choices and decisions and even the freedom to decide if we will love God back. That freedom is a beautiful gift but that freedom also opened the door to sin being brought into the world.
So God gave us this freedom to do whatever we want, but should we? I can choose whether or not to follow Christ and I’ve not always chosen Christ over the world. And choosing the world and choosing to do what Ashley wanted to do just for Ashley hasn’t always turned out well. I lived for this world, and living for this world didn’t bring me a fraction of the joy and peace (we’ll cover those fruits later) that I’ve found in Jesus.
So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. (1 Peter 1:14)
Following Jesus is a choice that I didn’t make one day and it became automatic from then on out. I have to choose Jesus every moment of every day. I have to choose Jesus when someone hurts me. I have to choose Jesus when things don’t go my way. I have to choose Jesus when I’m angry and frustrated and tired and think why me? Why isn’t this easier?
I have to control all those emotions that so easily can take over and turn me away just like that. You may think well I can’t control my thoughts. But yes, you can. God has given us the strength and the tools we need to control our thoughts and minds. He gave us the Holy Spirit so that we can have Self-control over our minds and actions.
Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11)
And I know, for myself, I definitely need to pray and ask the Spirit for self-control every single day. Doing the right thing is often so much harder than doing the wrong thing. But if living right was easy, we’d all be doing it right? I think it’s especially hard because I used to live how the world lived. I was caught up in it. So sometimes, situations occur and it is so easy to just slip right back into the wrong thing.
God gave us the Holy Spirit to give us the strength and confidence to choose Jesus over the world. The Holy Spirit helps us to strengthen our minds and the confidence of knowing God is always in control.
I pray you take the peace knowing that always, in everything, God is in control and always will be and because He loves us, He set us free. It is up to us to accept that freedom or not. We can use His power to control our choices and to not be slaves of this world and sin. Living for ourselves can bring us happy moments, but it is only in accepting our salvation, we receive eternal joy.
So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. (1 Peter 1:13)