But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
God is light, goodness, and love. God’s heart is the truth itself.
Those children of God who have believed in the Lord and received the Holy Spirit must cultivate this heart of truth, the heart of God.
But suppose I were to just say you ought to cultivate the heart of God and become light because God is also light. Then would you really be able to achieve a resemblance to God?
You may try to do it, but it’s not going to be easy.
So, God the Father has categorized His heart into detailed aspects so we can understand what kind of heart God has specifically and take after His heart.
To do this He gave us the Beatitudes, the ‘Spiritual Love Chapter’, and the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.
This is the last session on the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit, and I am going to talk about self-control.
Self-control is a very important fruit, although its characters do not show as evidently when compared to other fruits of the Spirit.
It controls all things to make everything stand stable and firm.
All the other fruits can be perfected only through this self-control, and that is why it is mentioned as the last point.
Through this message, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will bear not only the fruit of self-control but also all of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit in harmony.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the dictionary says self-control is restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.
We can see in this world that those who do not have self-control make their lives complex and cause difficulties for themselves.
For example, if the parents give too much love to their son only because he is the only child, it is very likely that the child will be spoiled.
Also, although they know they have to manage and care for their families, those who are addicted to gambling or other forms of pleasure ruin their families because they cannot control themselves,.
They say, “This will be the last time. I won’t do it any more,” but that ‘last time’ continues to take place again and again.
This self-control is very important not only for the worldly people but also for God’s children.
Most basically, we need self-control in order to cast away sins.
The less self-control we have, the more difficulty we feel in casting away sins.
When we listen to the word of God and receive God’s grace, we make up our mind not to take in flesh any more, but we may still be tempted by the world again.
We can see this by the words that come from our lips.
Many people pray to make their lips holy and perfect.
But in their lives, they forget what they prayed for, and they just speak as they wish, following old habits.
Some people soon give out complaints or resentment if they get into some difficulties or see something which is hard for them to understand.
They may regret after complaining, but they cannot control themselves when their emotions are stirred.
Also, some people like talking so much that they cannot stop once they start talking.
They do not have discernment between words of truth and untruth, and things that they should say and should not, so they make many mistakes.
We can understand how important self-control is just by seeing this aspect of controlling our words.
Brothers and sisters, but the fruit of self-control, as in one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, does not simply refer to controlling ourselves from committing sins.
The self-control as in one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit controls other fruits of the Holy Spirit to make them perfect.
It is like an arbitration center that gives harmony and order, when other fruits of the Spirit born in heart are shown outside.
Even when we take something good in the Lord, the most is not always the best.
We say something in excess is worse than something deficient.
In spirit, too, we have to do everything in moderation following the desires of the Holy Spirit.
For example, even though we have the fruit of joy, we cannot just express our joy any where any time.
When other people are mourning in a funeral, if you have a big smile on your face, what would they say to you?
They cannot say you are gracious because you are bearing the fruit of joy.
Even though the joy of receiving salvation is so great, we need to control it according to situations. This way we can make it a true fruit of the Holy Spirit.
It is important to have self-control when we are faithful to God as well.
Especially, if you have many duties, you have to allocate your time appropriately so you can be where you need to be the most at the appropriate time.
Even when a particular meeting is very gracious, you need to finish it when it needs to be finished.
Likewise, to be faithful in all God’s household, we need the fruit of the self-control.
It’s the same with all other fruits of the Holy Spirit, including love, mercy, goodness, etc.
When the fruits that are borne in heart are shown in deeds, we have to follow the guidance and voice of the Holy Spirit to make it the most appropriate.
We can prioritize work to be done first and that which can be done later. We can determine whether we should go forward or step back. We can have this kind of discernment through this fruit of the self-control.
Brothers and sisters, if somebody has borne all the fruits of the Holy Spirit completely, it means he is following the desires of the Holy Spirit in all things.
In order to follow the desires of the Holy Spirit and act in perfection, we have to have the fruit of self-control.
That is why we say that all the fruits of the Holy Spirit are completed through this fruit of self-control, the last fruit.
Now, let me explain how the fruit of self-control can be shown in detail.
First, if we bear the fruit of self-control, we will follow the order in all things.
We understand our position in the order. We understand when we should act or not and the words that we should or should not speak.
So, we don’t do anything that is inappropriate or things that go beyond the limits of our position.
For example, suppose the leader of a mission group asked the administrator to do a certain work.
This administrator is full of passion, and he feels that he has a better idea, so he changed some things at his discretion and did the work accordingly.
Then, even though he worked with so much passion, it means he did not keep the order due to lack of self-control.
If we bear the fruit of self-control, secondly, we can consider the contents, the timing, and location even when we do something good.
For example, to cry out in prayer is something good, but if you cry out without discretion, it may disgrace God.
Also, when you preach the gospel or visit the members for spiritual guidance, you should have discernment of the words you speak.
You have to deliver the truth according to the measure of faith of the listener.
Even though you received much grace from some spiritual message, you cannot just spread it to everybody.
If you deliver something that does not suit the measure of faith of the listener, then it may cause that person to stumble or pass judgment and condemnation.
In some cases, you may catch a person when they are busy and relate a testimony or talk about something that you realized through the Word in elaborate detail.
Even though the content is very good, it is difficult to touch that person without proper self-control according to different situations.
Even though the person may listen to you not to be impolite toward you, you are probably disturbing him because he is busy and his mind is elsewhere.
Let me give you another example. When a whole parish or a group of people has a meeting with me for consultation, and if one person keeps on telling his testimonies, what would happen to that meeting?
That person is giving glory to God because he is full of grace and Spirit.
But as a result, I cannot say everything that I need to say for the whole group due to lack of time. This individual is personally using up all the time that is allocated for the whole group. This is due to lack of self-control.
Even though you are doing something very good, you should consider all kinds of situations and have self-control.
Brothers and sisters, if you have the fruit of self-control, thirdly, you are not in a hurry but calm, and react to each situation with discernment.
Those who have no self-control are impatient and lack consideration for others.
As they hurry, they have less power of discernment, and they may miss some important things.
They hastily pass judgment and condemnation to cause discomfort among others.
Especially, those who are impatient when they listen to or speak to others, they make many mistakes.
We should not impatiently interrupt while someone else is talking. We should listen carefully until the end so we avoid hasty conclusions.
Furthermore, this way we can understand the intention of that person and react to it accordingly.
Before he received the Holy Spirit, Peter had impatient and outgoing character.
He tried to control himself very much before Jesus, but even so, sometimes his character was revealed.
When Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him before the crucifixion, Peter immediately refuted what Jesus said.
He said he would never deny the Lord.
If Peter had had the fruit of self-control, he wouldn’t have just disagreed with Jesus, but he would have tried to find the correct response.
Had he known that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He would never say something meaningless, he should have kept Jesus’ words in his mind.
By doing so, he could have been cautious enough that it would not have happened.
Proper discernment that enables us to react appropriately comes from self-control.
When we talk with others, many times their words and inner heart are different.
Some try to reveal other people’s faults in order to cover up their own faults.
They may ask for something to fulfill their greed, but they ask as if it were the request of somebody else.
They seem to ask a question to understand the will of God, but in fact, they are trying to draw out the answer they want.
But if you calmly talk with them, we can see that their heart is eventually revealed.
Those who have self-control will not be easily shaken by other people’s words.
They can calmly listen to others and can discern the truth by the works of the Holy Spirit.
If they discern with self-control and answer, they can reduce many mistakes that may be caused due to wrong decisions.
To that extent, they will have the authority and weight to their words, so their words can have a heavier impact on others.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, now, how can we bear this important fruit of self-control?
First, we must have unchanging hearts.
We have to cultivate truthful hearts that have no falsehood or cunningness.
Then, we can have the power to do what we decide to do.
Of course, we cannot just cultivate this kind of heart overnight.
We need to keep on training ourselves, beginning with keeping our hearts in small things.
Once we make up our mind, we have to keep it without changing it to pursue personal benefit.
As we continue this effort, we will finally have unchanging hearts and the power of self-control.
Next, we should train ourselves to listen to the desires of the Holy Spirit, not letting ourselves go ahead first.
Before we start doing what seems urgent or good in our sight, we first have to try to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Then, as we receive the voice and guidance of the Spirit, we need to obey it.
If we always listen to the desires of the Holy Spirit and obey it all the time, then we can discern between even very delicate matters.
With this discernment, we can always act in harmony and in order.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I am concluding this series on the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit with this last fruit of self-control.
Now, do you feel in your hearts what each of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is like?
Each of these fruits is such a precious thing, more precious than any precious gem-stone of this world.
As you bear these fruits of the Holy Spirit, you will receive whatever you ask of God.
You can prosper in all things by the attestations of God.
You can perform with the authority and power of light to reveal the glory of God in this dark world.
I urge you to meditate on the words you have heard and cultivate them through prayers.
I hope you will long for the fruits of the Holy Spirit more than any other treasure of the world and make them yours.
As you do that, I pray in the name of the Lord that God the Father will consider you like precious jewels and lead you to the glory of the Heavenly kingdom.