Self-Control | A Bible Class on the Works of the Flesh and the Fruit of the Spirit


Self-Control | A Bible Class on the Works of the Flesh and the Fruit of the Spirit

The final grace Paul mentioned as part of the Spirit’s fruit is 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” (Gal 5:22–23).

What is self-control?

Why is self-control important for the Christian?

Self-control is a suitable ending to this section of Scripture. Paul listed the works of the flesh which are antithetical to self-control. Of course, any deliberate sin demonstrated a lack of self-control (to a lesser extent, we can say the same about simply stumbling into sin).

Notice some of the ways the works of the flesh are antithetical to self-control.

  • Debauchery means “excess.” Any excess would be the direct opposite of self-control.
  • Discord means “strife.” Strife demonstrates no self-control.
  • Drunkenness demonstrates no self-control. As we discussed earlier, there is nothing inherently sinful about alcohol. However, the Biblical teaching on alcohol is that one must practice self-control, i.e., he cannot get drunk.
  • “Orgies” refers to drunken parties. Any drunken party would demonstrate no self-control.

The Spirit’s fruit, on the other hand, shows great self-control.

    • Love requires self-control. It’s not human nature to put the needs of others in front of our own.
  • Forbearance requires self-control. One needs self-control to put up with the failings of others instead of flying off the handle and making things worse.
  • Being faithful to God and others requires self-control. One must put aside his own desires to continue to do what God requires and to keep one’s word.

The Greek term for self-control—temperance—is only used four times tin the New Testament.

  • “As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, ‘That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you’” (Acts 24:25).
  • Galatians 5:23.
  • “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness. . . .” (2 Pet 1:5–6).

How does the Spirit produce self-control in the Christian?

What can the Christian do to increase in self-control?

This Bible class was originally taught by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at Church of Christ Deer Park in Deer Park, Texas.

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