Self-control is the ninth fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22–23. Though it’s listed last, it’s clearly an important one. It takes a lot of self-control to manifest the other eight fruits.

I recently read about the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, conducted by Stanford University psychologists in 1972. During the experiment, a marshmallow was offered to each of the participating children, with the promise that if they didn’t eat it for 15 minutes, they’d be given a second one. The researchers analyzed how long each child resisted eating the marshmallow, and after follow-up studies in 1988 and 1990, suggested that waiting longer—exercising delayed gratification—was correlated with future success. The findings are not considered conclusive, but it makes sense that having self-control is a positive factor in our lives.

My daughter Audrey is not yet two, but I can already see the struggle that takes place daily in her young mind with whether to yield to her anger and frustration or not. I take seriously the responsibility of helping her cultivate positive traits—patience, courtesy, consideration, respect, kindness, honesty—that all require self-discipline but will shape her character and prove valuable throughout her life.

Some of us have easier circumstances than others. For instance, Audrey currently finds chocolate and cake revolting—and if that continues into adulthood, it might fool some people into thinking she must be really self-disciplined (at least as far as sticking to a healthy diet). Unfortunately, being able to resist something we don’t care for is not the same thing as self-control.

Each of us is unique and has a personal path for growth, so there are no obvious secrets to gaining self-control. However, if we commit our lives into God’s hands, He will help us know what to do and not do, and the voice of our conscience will safeguard us in our weak areas.

Colossians 3:5 ESV / Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

John 14:6 ESV / Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 6:53 ESV / So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.


  1. Anthony
    June 20, 2017, 7:35 am   /  Reply

    I pray every morning asking god to keep me sober today and read them Bible in my hand set.
    Always I find maddGe for me.
    But I get disturbed very offenaly in my wife.
    Pleas pray for me

  2. Jo
    June 20, 2017, 3:09 pm   /  Reply

    Ello God will take that desire to drink away just live for today and keep giving everything to Jesus it’s been 37 years since the day I cried out to God to help me stop drinking and I was really ill through drink but when I was sick of being sick I begged God to deliver me and it happened in a instance I still struggled later on but kept praying and thanking him for deliverance and he will do the same for you you are in my prayers God bless

  3. Nikki
    June 20, 2017, 10:54 pm   /  Reply

    Hi Anthony. I appreciate your honesty so much! I understand your struggle with alcohol. I am an alcoholic and I have been delivered from the cravings and withdraw and moodswings that go along with stopping; Jesus Christ is my deliverer and He wants to be yours too. Keep on keeping on. Never stop praying your prayer. I am also praying for you. I have been completely free of alcohol for 7 years!! Praise God. He is doing the same for you. ❤

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