But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22–23, NASB)
Paul ends his list of the fruit of the Spirit with self-control, but the fact that it is the last does not by any means make it the least. Self-control is the fruit that holds all of the other fruit together. For example, if we love without restraint, it becomes passion. If we have patience without balance, it becomes apathy. Self-control provides the balance, restraint, and moderation needed by the other fruit. Self-control should be seen in our lives as we work toward curbing the desires of the flesh, directing our energy wisely as we strive to live by the Spirit.
Scripture is very clear about the importance of self-control. Proverbs 29:11 tells us that self-control is the mark of a person who is wise and not foolish. Self-control is an important aspect of Christian character (Titus 2:11-12). Self-control affects the whole person, spiritually, emotionally, and physically (1 Corinthians 9:26-27). Self-control is most important when dealing with temptation. Joseph showed self-control when tempted by the wife of Potiphar (Genesis 39:7-12). David showed self-control when he came upon Saul sleeping in the cave at En Gedi. He had the perfect opportunity to kill Saul, but chose not to (1 Samuel 24:1-7).
Self-control is a discipline that requires the help of the Holy Spirit. In order for us as believers to produce the fruit of self-control in our lives, we must be led by the Spirit. As believers, we belong to Jesus Christ and must crucify the desires and passions of the flesh (Galatians 5:24). If we are to live as Spirit-filled believers in Christ, we must always keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). As we walk with the Spirit, He will help to produce not only self-control, but love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness in our lives.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.