God says that we can have self control along with other cool and useful virtues. How do we know that?

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control….Galatians 5:22 -23

 

To which spirit does this verse refer?

The Holy Spirit.

 

Who or what is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is God.  God represents himself in three personalities:  God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit. You may have heard this referred to as the Trinity.  Matthew 28:19

 

If God will give anyone the ability to have self control, then why don’t more people have self control?

People have the Holy Spirit with them the moment they accept Jesus Christ’s forgiveness for their sins. (What is sin? See below*)  This is also called becoming a Christian. However, it may take a while for the fruit of the Spirit to be seen in a person’s life after that. A person has to be willing to rely on the Holy Spirit to help him or her to be successful. When they do that, the “fruit” will grow. Just like when a person begins to exercise a muscle, it becomes stronger and bigger, when they are faithful to keep working out.   

 

Why are these virtues called fruit of the Spirit?

It is a metaphor. These healthy attributes will show up in a person’s life like fruit grows from a healthy tree. The “roots” must be planted and watered in correct knowledge about God, and we must ask God to help us live according to that knowledge.

 

A lot of people who say they are Christians don’t have self control. Why is that? 

All Christians have the ability through the Holy Spirit to exercise self control. Sadly, many choose not to. God says Christians must make a choice to ask the Holy Spirit for help on a daily basis or to “keep in step” with him, Galatians 5:25.  This is simply done by asking him for help everyday, in other words by praying. Christians still have the choice to think or act in opposition to God’s ways. That is called sin.* 

 When Christians simply remember the Holy Spirit is available to guide them every moment of every day, they learn to recognize his leadership. When they do this, they will show the virtue of self control as well as other godly attributes.

How can people accept God’s forgiveness for their sins, so they can have self control?

Just do it. Anytime. Anywhere.  God says everyone has sinned except his son Jesus Christ. Romans 3:23 – 24.  Because Jesus never sinned, he alone can save us from ours (which is why he is called the Savior). Just like when someone pays a ransom to save a kidnapped person, Jesus says he was the ransom to save us (we are all “kidnapped” by sin), Matthew 20:28.

God is listening to your heart and mind all the time. He will know when you have made this decision. If you make that decision, tell someone today. I would love to hear about it!

 

Are there other benefits to being a Christian?

You bet. The biggest one is you no longer have to wonder what will happen to you when you die one day, John 3:16.  Another helpful one is that the Bible will instantly make a whole lot more sense to you. That is another cool job of the Holy Spirit’s. He grants people wisdom for life and godliness (if we ask for it!) James 1:5, 2 Peter 1:3.

 

***Note – all Bible verses are from the New International Version.