Self Control

June 9, 2014

 

Self Control

Without self-control we can easily make a mess of our life.  Many live in shame because of the things they have done that they shouldn’t have.  God’s work suffers because many Christians lack self-control.  People do things that hurt their testimony and the testimony of their church.  Many can’t be counted on to take responsibility.  If they promise to do something, they may do it haphazardly or not at all. They are weak Christians. Mark 14:38 says “The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.” There are things that we know that we should or shouldn’t do.  Our flesh is too weak to comply.  We don’t have what we call “will power.”

 It is difficult to control the works of the flesh without self control.  Galatians 5:19-21 tells us what the works of the flesh are. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,   Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,    Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”  As long as we are in this body we will have fleshly desires.  They are the temptations we face.  Fleshly desires may be sinful, but not always.  It may be the temptations of laziness and leaving work undone, or poorly done.  It may be the desire to spend money foolishly for things we don’t really need.  Millions of Americans are struggling with credit card debts they can’t pay.  In like manner, many endanger their health by eating too much junk food.

Self-control enables us to refrain from doing things we shouldn’t do.  It also enables us to do the things we should.    In Ephesians 4:22-25 we find the “put off-put on” technique. “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;   And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.  Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”  This takes self-control.  It is something God tells us to do.  We can’t be obedient Christians without doing it, and we can’t do it without self-control.

Self-control is one of the nine gifts of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”   The word “temperance” means self-control.  All these gifts are of vital importance, but, in this article, we are   dealing with   self control.

Self control is a gift of the Spirit. We need to know how to get it.   It becomes ours as we yield to the Spirit and allow him to control our lives.  Ephesians 5:18 says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Romans 8:5-14 tells us how to let the Spirit have control. “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.   And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.  Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.   For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

In the Old Testament we also find the promise of strength for God’s people.  Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”  Also in Isaiah 40:29-31 we read “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.    Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:      But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

In II Peter 1:5-8 we are told to give all diligence to add certain things to our life.  “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.”  You need self-control.  Without it you will be left behind.  You won’t accomplish much in life without it.   Let the Spirit of God have control of your life and you will have self-control.

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