I think that self-control as I’ve known it is a hoax. To me, self-control was always something I was supposed to work at. Something to try to have more of. But the funny thing is, the Bible clearly says in Galations 5:23 that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.
So if self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, what is this thing that I’ve always called self-control? This thing that I try to build out of my own strength? That thing that takes grit, determination, and resolve? Maybe it’s pride, maybe it’s guilt. In the end it doesn’t really matter. It’s not self-control because it’s not a fruit of the Spirit.
Fruits of the Spirit are things that result because of the Holy Spirit being inside me. So it would seem that my self-control has more to to with how in touch I am with the reality that the Holy Spirit really dwells in me, than with my own determination.
It’s amazing to me what kind of person I become when I spend some time in real worship, often by myself. As difficult as it is for me to be patient, joyful, kind, and gentle in normal life, those things seem to become my very nature during those times. The answer to a lack of self-control is not trying harder, it’s realizing that all the trying in the world won’t result in real self-control. Only communion with the Holy Spirit can yield the fruit of genuine self-control.
In a phrase: My self-control is worthless outside of his presence.