In this sermon, Pastor Neil preaches on the fruit of the spirit, in particular, self-control in every area of your life. Here are some excerpts:

What is Self-Control?

What exactly is self-control? The dictionary defines it as the ability to exercise your will so as to restrain your desires, emotions, and behavior. It is the ability to govern your own behavior. It means controlling your desires, your feelings, your impulses, and your passions without being controlled by them. Plato described it as self-mastery. It requires self-restraint, which is the opposite of self-indulgence. As Paul says in Titus 2:12, it involves saying “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions (i.e., desires and impulses that are contrary to God’s way) and saying “Yes” to the godliness, goodness, and gracious life that bring God pleasure. Even when it is hard. Especially when it is hard.

Self-control is the exercise of control or mastery over yourself in every area of your life:

  • What you eat and drink, as well as what you refrain from eating and drinking, understanding that your body, as a temple of the Holy Spirit, is holy to God (1 Corinthians 6:19);
  • What you look at, watch, and read — in everything you set before your eyes (Psalm 101:3);
  • In what you say and how you say it (Ephesians 4:29; James 3:1-12);
  • In handling your emotions and desires;
  • Where you go; and
  • In what you do with your body.

How Important is It?

How important is self-control? Proverbs 16:32 says that self-control is better than political power (MSG), that a person who controls his temper is better than one who rules a city or a nation. The point is that power over others is fatally compromised unless you can control or govern yourself. Which means, from a biblical perspective, that a person’s character does matter.

A Quality Sought in Spritual Leaders

Paul wrote to both Timothy and Titus that self-control is one of the qualities to be sought in spiritual leaders (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8). But it is not just for church leaders. It is not just for elders and deacons and Sunday school teachers and pastors and missionaries. It is a quality to be developed in all believers. Read Titus 2:1-12 and you’ll see Paul’s plea for both men and women, older and younger alike, to cultivate the fruit of self-control in their lives.

A Quality that Does Not Come Naturally

Unfortunately, self-control is not something that comes naturally to us. It doesn’t come easily. The fruit of the Spirit involves more than just trying hard. It is the result of the outpouring of God’s grace in our lives. As Paul says in Titus 2, it is the grace of God (made incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ) that teaches us to say “No” to all that displeases God so that we may say “Yes” to the fruitful kind of life He wants us to live. True self-control, like the other fruit of the Spirit we will explore in coming weeks, is possible only through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us. It is the fruit of a vital, vibrant, living, growing, personal relationship with God. The spiritual fruit of self-control is not really about self being in control. It is about God being in control, because only when you are yielded to the Holy Spirit and under His control can you exercise self-control to the fullest.

Pastor Neil has a lot more to say about this topic. Please click on the link below to hear the sermon in its entirety.

January 16, 2022

1 Peter 1: 1-9

Dr. Neil Smith

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