Get Hold of Yourself!


“Thanks, I needed that”. And the previously hysterical character gets hold of herself and is able to think clearly. Of course, in real life, she would have hit back or burst into tears!

If we have all the other fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering/patience, kindness, goodness/integrity, faithfulness, and gentleness/humility) but don’t have self-control, we are still lacking an important attribute. Does God have self-control? You bet He does. If He didn’t, the Israelites would have been wiped from history long ago. God withheld judgment and destruction time and again.

How much respect does someone with poor self-control earn? Not much, in my view. That person is unpredictable and self-centered. Lacking in discipline. Untrustworthy and childish. Sounds like a few of our politicians, doesn’t it? And athletes, stock brokers, actors . . . the list goes on.

FREE balloonsFreedom is cherished in our country. It’s also cherished in the kingdom of God. The Word tells us that if the Son sets us free, we are free indeed (John 8:36).  It declares that it was for freedom’s sake that Christ set us free (Galatians 5:1). Oh, yes, freedom is precious. But with freedom comes responsibility. One who thinks he is free but does not have self-control lives in license, not freedom. The Greek word for self-control is sōphrōn. It means “to voluntarily place limits on one’s own freedom.”


That limiting action can be hard. If I am upset and want to eat a quart of ice cream, I have to place limits on myself in order to honor my body. If I want to punch someone who cut in line in front of me, I have to place limits on myself and maintain a calm attitude as I explain that the end of the line is “back there.”

I’m not suggesting that we all walk around like robots, without emotion or reaction. We will get angry: the Bible says to be angry but don’t sin (Ephesians 4:26). Don’t let your anger control you. We will want and appreciate recognition: James 4:6 says that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (a spiritual fruit!).

Spontaneity is great as long as it honors God, others, and yourself. Go to a game, yell your lungs out for your team. Don’t yell insults or profanity as evidence of a lack of self-control. Stop in for a Frappuccino—once in awhile, not every day. Self-control.control button

Let the Spirit grow all the fruit in your life. Don’t get discouraged when you discover one or two fruit are strong but the others are weaker. That’s how we grow. If we attacked all areas of our life at once in an attempt to mature, the frustration would drive us crazy. God knows how to teach us. He reminds us to act with faithfulness one day and we work on patience the next. It all develops at the pace we allow as we cooperate with the Spirit working in us.

Continue to practice the evidence of good fruit—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control—as you grow to maturity with the Spirit’s help.


This is part 11 of an 11 part series on the fruit of the spirit

Part 1| Fruit-Tastic!

Part 2| How Does Your Garden Grow?

Part 3| But I Can’t Even Love Myself!

Part 4| Put on a Happy Face?

Part 5| In the Eye of the Hurricane

Part 6| I Want Patience, and I Want it Now!

Part 7| Who Gets the Credit?

Part 8| Be Good, for Goodness’ Sake

Part 9| A Maytag Life

Part 10| An Honest Opinion of Yourself


all illustrations courtesy of