The last fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22 is “temperance.” The Greek word used here is egkrateia, it means self-control, or a hallmark of one who masters their passions. There should be nothing that has control over us, that stems from our human nature. So, we have a struggle between human nature and divine nature. It is more clearly laid out for us in 2 Peter:
2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 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. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Notice all those things that are linked together and it all goes back to faith. We are saved by grace through faith, so that is the starting point. Trusting Jesus and God is faithing. That faith and salvation leads to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and that Spirit yields fruit, including temperance.
It is also interesting to me to see the last bit added on; if you don’t have temperance, if we don’t have self-control, it is because we have forgotten that we are cleansed from past sin. Forgiveness leads to healing, that is forgiveness of ourselves and the realization that God does not hold our past sins over our heads. If we do not realize that forgiveness it actually leads us to fall prey to our old nature. Isn’t that interesting? Legalism will never set us free, it is the fact of our freedom that enables our virtue of things like self-control. Also notice that Temperance is also then connected on to patience, godliness, kindness, and charity. Patience, godliness, kindness, and charity flow from self-control.
We struggle with many things that require self-control; drug use, lust, greed, anger, etc… We are promised that if we faithe on God, if we remember and realize that we are set free from all past sin, that we WILL have temperance/self-control, because it is a fruit of the Spirit. Grab onto that fact, faithe, and remember. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed! That is the path to controlling our human desires and passions, and giving over to the divine nature.