Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “The Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control.” You may have heard about the fruit of the Spirit and wondered what it is and how it relates to our Christian faith.

In this series, each fruit will be explored and related to our everyday lives. Just like physical fruit need time to grow, the fruit of the Spirit will not ripen in our lives overnight. As we mature in our faith, all the characteristics of our spiritual fruits will grow as well.

The ninth and last fruit of the Spirit is self-control. What exactly is self-control? The Greek word translated as ‘self-control,’ egkrateia, is derived from two other Greek words—en and kratos. En means ‘in’ and kratos means ‘strength’ or ‘power.’ The Bible typically refers to self-control as ‘temperance,’ meaning self-restraint or moderation. Although, some people interpret self-control to mean abstinence.

While this is the last of the fruit listed, it is certainly not the least. In fact, it takes a great deal of self-control to exercise the other eight other virtues. We all face temptation to sin in our lives. People often lack the self-restraint to stop when they should. Many of us find ourselves tempted to overeat, overdrink, overspend or overindulge.

There are two proverbs that explain the difference of not having self-control versus the value of having it. In Proverbs 25:28 we are told, “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” But, in Proverbs 16:32 we learn, “It is better to be patient than powerful. It is better to win control over yourself than over whole cities.”

Some people mistake self-control with patience; however, they are starkly different. Self-control allows you to keep your mind focused on God while avoiding the temptation of your desires. Many worldly temptations can be strong, but our spiritual self-control can be stronger with the help of our faith.

As with all of us, certainly your biggest spiritual enemy has been yourself. But, with God’s help, you can increasingly conquer your temptations and learn to embrace the fruit of self-control. The more we pray, study the Bible and draw closer to God, the more we will have the ability to demonstrate our own self-control.