Moving Toward SELF CONTROL
"But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control..."
Can you imagine a world where everyone did whatever they desired, whenever they wanted, and refused to show any restraint?
How scary it would be if people lived selfishly at the highest level and sinfully in the greatest of lengths with absolute no regard to others. There would only be chaos and confusion and conflict continually and people would end up being depressed and discontent almost all of the time. This is exactly what the devil is strategically working toward. Sadly, it describes a lot of what we are seeing in the world today whenever people refuse to show some form of self control. But the Lord has called us to be salt and light and calls His people to be continually upholding the moral standards and boundaries that He has given to us.
This is why self control is on this list of spiritual maturity that Peter builds upon. He knows that the fallen human condition naturally wants to do what it desires. Self control is being able to master our own desires by allowing Christ to master over us.
We are living in a world that is celebrating sin and thus people are being mastered by their own lusts and passions regularly. There are times when people will relinquish their own rights and show restraint as they work their professional jobs or learn certain conditioning and social etiquettes. However, you really learn about who a person is by how they act when they are alone and not ruled by a schedule or any social structure. So who is in control of your life right now? If you have genuine faith in God, and you are desiring to live a virtuous, moral life, and you know God personally and experientially, it is the appropriate next step to entrust your life to Christ. The only way that we can truly practice self control is to daily surrender our rights and give the Lord the control over our lives.
The Christian life begins with the revelation of God's Son and the willingness to deny one's self. The spiritually mature believer continues to practice self control and flourishes by yielding to the Holy Spirit. Self control is the fruit of God's Spirit working in us and having His way in our lives. This is why Jesus taught that we must lose our life for His sake if we want to truly find our life.
Thus, to have SELF CONTROL, we will have to learn to:
Release our CONTROL, our CONCEIT, our COMFORTS, and our COMPLAINTS.
Furthermore, the Apostle Paul taught, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:3-5).
Jesus modeled for us a life of humility and obedience even though He was fully human when it came to the needs and limitations that come with a human body. It is only through Christ who strengthens us that we can have this same mindset and live the life our Father is calling us to live.
You cannot get self control by simply trying to take control of yourself. There is a need to first release your control over to God, by faith in His ability, and then you will have the control not to do the things that you wish. In other words, you need Jesus to follow Jesus!
We all need to learn to show self control in:
The way we ACT and REACT to things. — Having Right CONDUCT
The way we SPEAK and RESPOND to others — Having Respectful CONVERSATION
The way we FEEL and DESIRE to have our needs met. — Rich CONTENTMENT
"Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out." (1 Tim. 6:6-7).
So once again, who are you when you don't have a schedule and you are just sitting with yourself? Have you learned to "be still and know that He is God" (Ps. 46:10)?
- Do you have a good practice of preferring others? - Do you know how to graciously share your heart? - Do you say NO to your greed for a simpler life?