Spiritual Self-Control

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 5:22-23 (New International Version, ©2010)*

Self-control. Maybe because the King James Version calls it “temperance,” I’ve always thought of this fruit of the Spirit as “refraining from excess and from bad behaviour.”

Last week my Bible study group talked about the Holy Spirit being the fuel… how much or how little of Him to we make room for? We also talked about quieting ourselves to listen and obey, to do things God’s way.

The next day the post at Other Food: Daily Devos continued the challenge: “My Will or His?

These things made me wonder if this passage about the fruit of the Spirit uses self-control not so much for the outer actions (as important as that is) but to describe bringing our spirits into line with the Holy Spirit, placing them under His direction.

Not in a repressive way, but a submission, a surrender, a placing of self under God’s authority and direction. A making room for His Spirit to shape, develop and refine us.

After pondering and praying about this the following morning, what verse did my eye catch?

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:15, NIV*, quoting Psalm 95:7-8)

Lord, help me hear and recognize Your voice. Help me not follow my default pattern of hardening my heart by choosing my way over Yours. Help me to control and quiet my inner self so that Your Spirit within me has room to rise and to develop His fruit in me. To Your glory, and for my own spiritual wellbeing.

Lead Me to the Cross,” by Chris and Conrad, isn’t the old hymn you may expect. Let it minister to your spirit today… especially listen for the line “rid me of myself”.

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

4 thoughts on “Spiritual Self-Control

  1. Stephanie

    Oh, that I would keep self under control and surrender to the Spirit of God–in every area.
    Thank you for again challenging us not to assume a passage means what we’ve always thought it did.

  2. violet

    Janet, it’s gratifying to see that words written weeks in advance (because I write the OF-devos four weeks before they publish) fit with your circumstances on a particular day. You know Who gets the credit for that!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.