But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 KJV
The word temperance comes from a Greek word meaning strength. Paul describes temperance, or self-control, as a fruit of the Spirit, thereby declaring a difference between self-control and self-reliance.
Self-reliance is relying on our own strength. Self-reliance says, “I can handle this.”
Whereas, self-control says, “I can’t do this on my own. I need help, Lord.”
Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit produced inside the heart of the believer as she yields her heart to Him. Therefore, we cannot produce self-control.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:5 KJV
The scion (grafted limb) can do nothing without the stock (the plant stem). The stock (Christ) is the root-bearing part of the tree. Without the roots, the tree cannot absorb the minerals needed for the branches to grow and bear fruit.
Knowing this truth, I understand two things:
• I can do nothing in my own strength.
• The areas in which I struggle are evidence of my refusal to yield.
It isn’t about self-reliance, but self-control. It is yielding to the Holy Spirit’s work in my life and putting into practice that which I know to be true. This includes my actions, reactions, emotions, and thoughts.
Peter said, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8 KJV
If I practice what I know, then I will be fruitful and grow in understanding!
Self-reliance is something I am familiar with. For years, I leaned on my own understanding and strength. But eventually, I learned there is a better way. Relying on the Lord’s strength gives me what I need for this journey!
What say you? Share your thoughts in the comments.