Self-control is something I have written about many times before. In fact, I have a post category for that with 11 other posts in it already! But since it is the last of the fruit of the Spirit, lets look at it anew.
The Greek word used here is ἐγκράτεια (egkrateia), translated in the King James’ Version as temperance. It is defined by Thayer’s Greek Definitions as:
1) self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites)
This reminds me of what Peter wrote in his first letter about how we should be holy.
1 Peter 1:13-16 (WEBBE): 13Therefore prepare your minds for action. Be sober, and set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ— 14as children of obedience, not conforming yourselves according to your former lusts as in your ignorance, 15but just as he who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all of your behaviour; 16because it is written, “You shall be holy; for I am holy.”
As with all the other fruit of the Spirit, there is an aspect of this self-control that is beneficial to ourselves. Life certainly is less complicated without the lusts that cause so much conflict. But it is also something that impacts the people around us, the people that we should be reaching out to with God’s love. Having self-control is a practical way of showing the people around us what a profound effect being God’s child has on one’s life. It gives credence to our words if our actions match what we say.
Consider this example. Would you trust a ski instructor who knows everything about skiing, but cannot ski more than five seconds without falling off his own skis?
Being holy all the time is not something that we can accomplish on our own. We are just human. But the Holy Spirit equips us so that we can have self-control at all times, if we let Him!