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The Fruit of Self-Control!

Galatians 5:22-23: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Remember that the New Testament was mainly written in Greek. We 'll thus take a look at the Greek words as well as the Hebrew words for the applicable fruit of the week.


Greek Word: ἐγκράτεια (Transliterated: egkrateia)

Hebrew Word: מעצר / מעצור (Transliterated: ma'sar / ma'sor)


The Greek word enkráteia (ἐγκράτεια) means self-control; the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions; self-restraint; temperance; moderation in thought, word & action.

The Hebrew words ma'sor & ma'sar means temperance, self-control, restraint, rule, detention, composure.


Oh my goodness! Did I have a tough time trying to figure out what the correct Hebrew word for self-control was! There are many derivatives of which I found ma’sor / ma’sar the best fitting in the context of Gal 5:23’s meaning. So I’m not going to reference the first time the word self-control was used in the Old Testament – as I don ’t want to mislead you.


Whilst working on this blog post it felt like I was about to go crazy. I mean how is it possible that one could not find the correct translation. And then the light bulb moment came! God is so faithful & always on time! In the time of the Old Testament (OT), things were more law / rule driven. Thus, people were obliged to act a certain way. They were obliged to maintain a certain standard. So self-control didn’t really affect anyone the way it did in the New Testament (NT).


In the NT, after Yeshua came, we are no longer under the law. We now have a choice to obey. In the OT, when people didn’t obey the instructions, there were immediate consequences. They paid for their trespasses, some even died. In the NT, we no longer bring sacrifices nor are we just struck dead when we are disobedient. We do however miss out on so many blessings due to our disobedience and we don’t even realise it! The end result of disobedience in the OT and NT is still the same though – eternal death.


There's a reason why self-control is the last fruit mentioned. Because self-control is the one that keeps it all together! When we are born-again, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us - Who gives us the strength to control our fleshly sinful desires. The people from the OT did not have the Holy Spirit living inside them to guide them. Therefore they had to have more legalistic guidelines on how to live.


The legalistic law was replaced by a love law. Yeshua didn’t do away with the law, He came to fulfil it (Matt 5:17). The principles haven’t changed, but the “qualifying conditions” have changed from legalistic to love. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we have the ability to say "no" to our flesh. And "yes" to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.


When we say yes to the Spirit and no to the flesh, we will receive a bountiful harvest of spiritual fruit and blessing in our lives! People who have self-control / temperance show restraint in their passions, desires and behaviours. Self-control isn't "named" so much in the Old Testament as it's mentioned in the New Testament. However, the characteristic of self-control is implied all throughout Scripture!


As born-again believers, we shouldn't allow anything other than the Holy Spirit to control us and our actions. Regardless if it comes to food, alcohol, lust, greed, words or any other fleshly desires you can think of. Whatever fleshly desires we give into, will become our fleshy functional god. And it will determine how we "function" and operate in our daily lives. We should get in alignment. Our spirit should be in control of our soul (mind, will & emotions). And our soul should be in control of our body. But all too often, the reality is the exact opposite. We need to get to a point where we get used to talking to God about all of our decisions. We should be so connected to God that we don't make a single decision without His consent.


In Matt 27:12 we read about Yeshua Who was brought before Pontius Pilates, the governor at that time. When an accused was brought before the governor, they had an opportunity to plead their case to get a lighter sentence or even be set free in some cases. Pontius Pilates was a fair judge, he only heard good things about Yeshua before. Yeshua had the chance to appeal His sentence, but He kept quiet. Knowing all too well the excruciating thing He would have to go through despite being innocent. There's no bigger display of self-control than that! Wow!


It's impossible for us as human beings to live godly lives and obey God without self-control. Because our flesh only wants to please itself (Rom 7:21-25). In Rom 13:14 Paul warns us “make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil its lusts.” When we choose to keep the love law, we will stay away from anything and everything that goes against God’s instructions or might cause us to stumble.


In 1 Cor 9:27 Paul wrote “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” Paul, who walked close in his relationship with Yeshua realised just how easily our fleshly desires can steal from our blessings. In order for us to develop our character and carry the fruit of the Spirit – we have to gain control over our fleshly desires! When we backslide as Christians, 99% of the time it’s due to a lack of self-control.


Temperance is synonym to self-control. The opposite of self-control is self-indulgence. Hmmm… sounds very closely related to self-love doesn’t it? When we get into proper alignment – spirit, soul and body – we will become better representatives of Yeshua. And that’s what we are called for!


When we first give our lives to Yeshua… It’s a choice. Your life doesn’t belong to Yeshua because you’ve grown up in a Christian home and went to church. Your life belongs to Yeshua once you have the emotional and mental capacity to understand the spiritual realm and you have chosen to be obedient to His instructions… THEN your life belongs to Yeshua and you have the opportunity to experience and live in His provision. When we give our lives to Yeshua, we are spiritual babies who needs a whole lot of growing up to do! Part of growing up is about taking responsibility for your own life and actions. As infants we have no personal responsibility, everything is done for us. Because we literally do not have the ability to do it ourselves. As we grow older, more and more responsibilities are placed on us. In the process, we learn that being responsible has its rewards. We also come to learn that irresponsibility has some less-than-desirable effects.


In summary we can say that the difference between a child and an adult lies in his/her willingness to take personal responsibility for one’s actions. Self-control is about taking up one’s responsibility. And it has much to do with the sowing and reaping principle.


Galatians 6:7-8 cuts straight to the point: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap everlasting.”

In Isaiah 3:10-11 we read that the righteous will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. It however continues to say “woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done."


Straight through from Genesis to Revelations, the people we read about were held accountable for their actions. There was a standard set according to which they were supposed to live – yes, even in the New Testament. Sadly through false teachings and dogma, we have been conditioned to believe the contrary… Hiding under a false umbrella of “God’s grace is enough.” Yes, His grace is more than enough to save us. It’s the only thing that can save us! But I need to do my part as well. If it was only dependent on Yeshua’s work on the cross, then there was no need for us to go to church or read the Bible or anything. Since allegedly we’d all just be saved. Mind you, that (if that's the case) means that the rapist and murder is also saved. Which is obviously not the case (unless they repent)!


We will all be held personally responsible for our lives and the choices we've made. When Yeshua comes back one day He will judge each one of us according to His Word. Not according to our opinions and our intentions. He will weigh our lives against His Word and will either find us guilty or redeemed! We can try to ride the grace train and blame shift but at the end of the day, you are the only person who can take responsibility for your own life.


In Mark 1:15 we read “repent and believe the gospel.” I cannot repent nor believe on your behalf. Nor can you do it on my behalf. We cannot ditch our own responsibilities as believers and still expect blessing. Throughout the Bible, we are warned that if we do not have self-control, we will be slaves to that which controls us. Regardless if it's food, money, lust, our words, etc. And in the end we will find ourselves overwhelmed with the consequences of not having self-control.


Self-control brings forth righteousness and selflessness - which reflects Who Yeshua is and will bring Glory to God! The deeper we dive into the Word of God, the more it will transform our hearts and our minds! The better we get to know the Word, the stronger we will be able to stand when the storms of life comes and we will be able to operate with the fruit of Self-control amidst the storms! Self-control enables us to see our own interests and fleshly priorities in context and enable us to lay them down so that we can serve others - like we are called to do! We can continue much longer on this topic. But at the end of the day, we all have to make the decision for ourselves. Flesh vs Spirit - only one can rule, the choice is yours!

"Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control." ~ Proverbs 25:28 ~
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