Listen:  130.5

Let’s read about the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  Notice here that there are not nine fruits of the Spirit, but only one fruit which manifests itself with all these characteristics. 

The fruit of the Spirit is contrasted with the ‘works of the flesh’ as we have in Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” 

What does the term ‘fruit of the Spirit’ mean?  Fruit is the product of the tree or vine that bears it.  In this instance that refers to the Holy Spirit of God.  Who has the Spirit?  Every believer on the Lord Jesus Christ is indwelt by Him.  We read in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”  The ‘fruit of the Spirit’ is speaking of the effect in our lives of having God’s Spirit living inside us, and controlling us, as believers on the Lord Jesus Christ.  When we are led of the Spirit, we will evidence the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

As I said before, there are not nine fruits, but one.  When the Spirit of God is leading our lives, all of these characteristics of the Spirit of God will be seen in us.  The question before us asks specifically about self-control, so let’s consider what self-control is and what it looks like.  The word ‘self-control’ is translated ‘temperance’ in the KJV.  It actually means just what it sounds like, being in control of your thoughts and actions.  This involves more than the ability to resist sin; it also involves the resolve to do the Lord’s will.  We get the thought of controlling our minds in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”  Is it possible to control our thoughts so that we only think about the things that honor the Lord?  When we are led of the Spirit, yes, it is possible. 

Is it possible to overcome the temptations of Satan?  When we are led of the Spirit, yes, it is possible.  James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  What about doing the Lord’s will, can we actually live lives that are in obedience to the Lord?  Again, when we are led of the Spirit, and are evidencing the fruit of the Spirit, we can have the self-control needed to serve the Lord.  We read in Philippians 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”  When we are led of the Spirit, we can both desire to do and actually do the will of God.

To have true Godly self-control is to behave in a manner that is consistent with the person of the Spirit that lives inside each believer.  In that sense, self-control is Spirit-control.  In Ephesians we learn that we should not be controlled by wine, but by the Spirit of God.  Ephesians 5:18-21says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”  To be filled with the Spirit is to be led of the Spirit.  To be led of the Spirit will produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.  Self-control is part of that fruit.  (130.5)