Family Matters: Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit

By Lucia Ferrara

Many people struggle with issues like self-control and do not know how to manage different addictions that one may have. Some issues that families or individuals deal with include food, smoking, drugs, sex, and alcohol to name a few. Do you know that self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit that is talked about in the Bible? In Galatians 5:22-23 it lists them; “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Self-control is sometimes defined as self-discipline or willpower, but to me it is about regulating yourself in those vulnerable moments where temptation can be found. Can we teach ourselves and our children how to regulate temptation? Of course, we can! But it can be incredibly challenging to many of us young and old.

Sometimes I have been known to lose my control at the sight of a piece of vanilla cake or coconut cream pie. With children, it works the same. When we walk down the candy aisle, and your kid starts to ask for candy or they just toss it in the grocery cart without asking, what should a parent do? Well first, my suggestion is to avoid the candy aisle at all costs. I’d also suggest telling your child that you’re not buying candy today or offer the candy as a reward for scoring a good grade on their next spelling test.

As for me and my pie and cake addiction, I need to just keep sweets out of sight and out of mind!

According to an article on the website by Randy DeVaul, “Self-control is not being submissive but being in control of your emotions, words, and actions. As a characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit, it is allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you so that you do not sin.”

Lord knows we all struggle with this, but instead of focusing on the situation at hand or the pieces of pie, we need to focus on God. His greatest desire is for us to focus our attention on Him. He wants us to experience his joy and goodness and rest in His word. We will begin to see and feel a transformation not only in ourselves but in the lives of our children and families.

Ask God to help you with your temptations and struggles before you even are face to face with them. Put into practice self-control by praying for understanding, and peace in whatever you are facing. Admitting to the weakness is also important because you need to ask God for the strength to continue to try to do good, live for the commandments, obey God’s word and live in faith.

When you find yourself feeling out of control or guilty for something you are addicted to or struggling with, learn to pause, reflect, and then act. Ask God to help you and thank him for developing the fruit of self-control in your life and teaching your family to do the same.

All the articles in the Family Matters series are available here.

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[Lucia Ferrara is the Director of Hospitality at Precious Blood Renewal Center and the lead organizer here of Parent Cafes. Share your thoughts with Lucia or ask her questions by using the form below or sending an email to Read more about the Parent Café here.]

Photo 135567819 © Marek Uliasz |

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