Who else would react this way? (Self-Control) [Fruit of the Spirit Series]

Fruit of the Spirit Series image2

It’s hard to believe we are at the end of the Fruit of the Spirit Series already. These 9 weeks have flown by. I hope you have enjoyed this study. If you missed any post in this series, just click here to be directed to all of them. I’d love to hear what you thought about this series. Please leave a comment to that effect in the comment box at the end of this post. This week we look at a fruit I really need to grow more of: self-control. 

(And click here to listen to the audio version of this post [and all my Fruit of the Spirit posts].)


The morning started great … briefly. My hubby let me sleep in while he took care of the early morning details. However, it quickly went down hill.

We forgot Zach had to be out the door early, so he missed an important practice. And Rachel woke up with signs of a cold, so Dave decided she should stay home.

This led to a not-so-nice response by me when I finally crawled out of bed.

You must understand, I love my children, and I love having them home, but the past week had been hectic and this day was filled with a to-do list much longer than five people could accomplish. How was I to care for Rach as well?

As I fumed and ranted about my “lot” in life—and the day—my recollection of Sweet Hubby’s intent to give me a few extra minutes of rest flew right out the window.

I reacted out of selfish frustration instead of acting/speaking out of intentional love and appreciation. 


Self-Control in the Bible

The Bible speaks directly and indirectly to the benefits of exercising self-control. For instance, the Apostle Paul makes it clear that to be a leader or influencer you must possess self-control (Titus 1:8). In 2 Peter 1:5–8, Simon Peter notes that self-control is one of the qualities that must be increasing in you to be useful and fruitful in the knowledge of the Lord. 

When I think about self-control in a biblical sense, I think of  Jacob’s son Joseph. Because of his amazing restraint, he became a great leader and influencer as well as useful and fruitful. 

Now, you can argue that Joseph could have exhibited far more self-control in his younger years and kept his mouth shut about his family bowing to him and other details of his various dreams. But that trip to the bottom of the pit must have infused him with a good dose of restraint because from then on, he epitomized self-control (Genesis 37—50): 

  • Not giving in to Potiphar’s wife’s advances.
  • Learning, praying, praising, and growing while in prison as an innocent man.
  • Not holding grudges against those who promised to remember and promptly forgot him after their release from jail.
  • And of course, forgiving his brothers for their betrayal and persecution of him. 

The Action of Self-Control

Looking at Joseph’s life, self-control appears not to be so much a trait we inherit as it is an attribute we grow into.

Self-control appears not to be so much a trait we inherit as it is an attribute we grow into. Click To Tweet

Most young children respond rashly and react to the circumstances of their day. As parents we teach them the finer points of restraint. 

How to wait for a desired item. The art of counting to 10 before reacting. The pleasure of serving rather than being served. 

As we train our children to purpose a response before saying or doing something, we teach them the art of restraint. In other words, self-control.

To exercise self-control we must learn to move with intentional actions instead of rash reactions. 


As a teenager I did some things I’m not proud of, rash reactions instead of intentional choices. I continue to struggle with restraint as a somewhat seasoned adult, especially in the area of my tongue.

To exercise self-control we must learn to move with intentional actions instead of rash reactions. Click To Tweet 

In the aftermath of another inappropriate response, I am often left to wonder, Who else would ever act the way I do?

Thankfully, through the years I’ve made progress.

By identifying triggers to inappropriate reactions—weariness, fear, busyness—and purposing intentional actions, my responses have become more in line with displaying Christlike love. 

With the Lord’s help, I will continue to grow more self-control. With a little cultivating, you can too.

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).

Reflections: How do you fare in the area of self-control? How do you exercise restraint? Is there a strategy or technique you’ve found useful? 

Linking with Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience in 2013 for my Joy Dare list  for Multitude Mondays (#1662–1682, read them all by clicking here):

  • Attended first home soccer game & rain held off; Squirrels & a groundhog scattering in front of me on the trail; Old dogs
  • Layers of clothing to battle the cold at a soccer game; Tea with Mom; Joseph, my funny, loving newly minted 12 year old
  • Morning robin perched on the fence–peaceful; Afternoon spent preparing the garden; Fruit-tree buds swelling w/ new life
  • Return of the Cedar Waxwings; Sunshine on my shoulders–the song & the feeling; Attending Joey’s first trumpet solo
  • Warm enough to take Rach to a soccer game; Raccoon sauntering thru the treetops; Spring fever dessert = Strawberry Pie
  • Worship,fellowship,fun at spring rally; Seeing Zach enjoy promday; Ending super day laying on garden bridge w/loved ones
  • In short sleeves for the first time in 2013; Canoeing/kayaking on the river; Prophesy that points to the coming Savior

Also linking with the following wonderful sites:



By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

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