C – BUILDING BLOCKS OF LIFE – 3
Knowledge was mentioned in the beginning of this series and it will also be mentioned at the end so we will move ahead to self-control. 2 Pet.1:6 One would think this to be a simple task. The Greek definition is the ability to take a grip of oneself. We think that “of course we can handle ourselves”. We can, we should, but do we? If we are honest with ourselves, many areas of our lives are out of control.
Other definitions would be well to consider. When we think of self-control we think of self-discipline, self-denial, will-power, and holding back from excess. To be self-controlled, one has restraint over one’s own impulses, emotions, and desires with the ability to keep words and actions under close control.
Self-control requires energetic determination. A chorus comes to mind: “I am determined. I’ve made up my mind. I’ll serve the Lord.” Joshua did this. Josh.24:15 Discipline is usually punishment that instructs. It corrects, molds or perfects the mental and moral character. It intends to enforce obedience and change the pattern of behavior. When we use self-discipline, we enforce our own obedience to what is right and change our pattern of behavior accordingly.
All of these considerations are important; however, we cannot do it alone. The Christian life is directed by God’s command. We want what God wants for us. This should keep our desires in check. Self-control is not only a building block, it is part of the fruit of the Spirit which is opposed to the work of the flesh. As long as we are on earth, we have both flesh and Spirit. We actually war against the flesh by the self-control we gain through the Spirit. Rom.6:12
It is not enough that we refrain from evil but we must bring forth fruit unto God. Rom.7:4 It is this self-control through the Spirit that we are not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom.12:21 When we think we can handle our self alone, we need to be very cautious. 1 Cor.10:12 Satan would like for us to think we can do it alone because he knows we will fail. He puts this lie into our mind.
It is the love of our Lord that controls us. 2 Cor.5:14 We become captive to our thoughts and then to our desires—our addictions. We think of addictions as nicotine, drugs, or alcohol. We become addicted to many others things. Do we waste time we could be spending doing for the Lord when we just are compelled to watch this program that may contain immorality such as marriage unfaithfulness, bad language, and other sins listed in God’s Word. Eph.5:16 We can even become obsessive with things that are not sin. Hobbies and special interests can make us captive or slaves and therefore, we neglect the Lord. 2 Cor.10:5 When we can bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, we are on our way to being self-controlled. Prov.23:7 Our control continues as we remember that we are dead in Christ. Gal.2:20 Our “self” has been crucified.
This does not destroy our personalities for God has blessed us with many gifts. Rom.12:6 We have to make sure we glorify God with those gifts. Rom.12:3;
We cannot let ourselves become discouraged for we have been given the Holy Spirit within us. Instead of thinking self-controlled, let us think spirit- controlled. Because of having the Spirit in our lives, we can say with Paul Phil.4:13.
God gives us what we need to conquer. 2 Tim.1:7 When we are spirit-controlled God can work in us to get our “selves” under His control. 2 Cor.7:1 We honor God by being under His control. When we have a close relationship with our Lord, He will give us strength to overcome. Titus 2:12 (NIV) As the world sees us change with our ability to control ourselves with the help of the Holy Spirit, we become a testimony; for where we were weak, Christ makes us strong. 2 Cor.12:9 Victory of self-control is gained through submission to God to let Him make us Spirit-controlled. We must love the Lord. Lk.10:27 Do we love and trust our Lord enough to let Him have control of our lives?
Through friendship with the world and time spent with worldly media, a desire can be created in us to act and look like the world. Jam.4:4 DARE WE TAKE A CHANCE WITH OUR ETERNITY so we can look like and be like the world? So we can be in style? Jam.1:27; Rom.12:2 Satan makes it easy to be enslaved by the world.
Paul was discussing self-control among other topics with Felix when he became disturbed and put him off until another time. Acts 24:25 We can also become uncomfortable as our own self-control or lack of it is discussed. Do we honestly face ourselves and realize wherein we lack? Whether sports interests us or not, we realize the control over self that is paramount to the success of an athlete. Paul mentions this in 1 Cor.9:25. Physical health and agility is of utmost importune to an athlete. Shouldn’t our spiritual health and our ability to move in the ways God desires be of even greater importance to us? They were running for a wreath. We run for our eternity with the Lord. Rom.2:7
Help for control over every aspect of our life is available to us. Heb.4:16 We must identify the issues that cause our loss of self-control. Then there must be an urgent desire to have victory over that weakness. It takes determination to overcome and be spirit-controlled. Too often we think we are trying but we still dabble in our sin. We have to be zealous in our efforts to kill those wrong desires. Is our faith real or do we just say the words? Our faith will overcome. 1 Jhn.5:4
Self-control is so important to rid ourselves of those sins that so easily beset us as well as those impulses and desires that keep us from growing in Christ. Let us sincerely pray that we may be spirit-controlled. Gal.5:16,17 If we lack self-control, we become useless and unfruitful. 2 Pet. 1:9 This defeats our purpose as a Christian.
Jhn.15:4,5 We long to be self-controlled to bear fruit but cannot do it alone. We live by the Spirit and bear fruit to the glory of God. Phil.1:10,11