Saturday, July 14, 2012
By Angela Bhandal
1. What is self-control?
Dictionary meaning = power of controlling oneself
Self = me or distinct personality
Control = restraint, authority, a check or a means of operating
Biblical dictionary = power over one’s own actions, moderation, good sense
Self-control is mentioned 17 times in my concordance
Let’s take a look at what some of those verses say –
Proverbs 25:28 “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control”.
A city that has broken walls is a city that is defenceless and vulnerable to the enemy. This is such a good analogy of us when we lack control over our own actions and behaviour. If we just do and say whatever we want we are foolish and vulnerable to satan controlling us for his glory.
Galatians 5:23 “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”.
As I mentioned last week, if you are able to practise the last fruit that all the other fruit should be evident in your life also.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them”.
We can see here that having self-control will be hard in the last days. As I believe we are living in these very days, being aware of this is very important. This can help us to know what our battle is, not just for others but for ourselves.
2 Peter 1:5-8 “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness: and to goodness, knowledge: and to knowledge, self-control: and to self-control, perseverance: and to perseverance, godliness: and to godliness, brotherly kindness: and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Wow – these attributes practised in our every day living will help us never to be ineffective as Christians and will help us be productive in serving our Lord.
2 Peter 1:3-4 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires”.
Need I say anymore? It’s very clear that his divine power is all we need.
2. Examples from the Bible of people who exerted self-control
Joseph son of Jacob
His story if found in Genesis 39 – lets read some of his story
4 things in this story stand out for me:
a. The Lord was with Joseph
b. He refused to sleep with this woman
c. He knew to sleep with her would be wicked and a sin against God
d. He fled from this situation leaving his cloak and the house he was master over
The outcome initially wasn’t good for Joseph because he was falsely accused of something he hadn’t done and was thrown into jail. But the Lord was with Joseph and even in jail Joseph found success in all he did.
So what can we learn from this story?
1. We need God’s presence in our lives because He is the source of morals and self-control
2. We need to know what sin is so we can refuse it
3. Even if evil persists when we refuse, God always makes a way out for us even it if means removing ourselves from the situation (1 Corinthians 10:13) It’s called FLEEING just as Joseph did.
Matthew 4:1-11 Let’s read this together. Three times Jesus is tempted by the devil and three times Jesus answers him with scripture or more accurately from the book of Deuteronomy. (Deut 8:3/6:16/6:13)
When we are tempted by evil to sin, it would seem from Jesus’ example that remembering scripture is the key to overcoming or exerting ‘self-control’. Human will-power will fail you when it comes to spiritual matters because the flesh is weak and Satan knows that. So knowing God’s word is vital if you want to be successful in restraining your body.
The outcome in this story is that Jesus overcame Satan with the Word, Satan left him and angels came and ministered to him.
3. Examples from the Bible of people who lacked self-control
2 Samuel 11:1-5: David looked upon her bathing (one assumes she is naked) and saw her beauty and his desire for her grew because of what his eyes had seen. He sent for her and rest is history. Bathsheba fell pregnant, her husband was murdered by David, he then married her, the baby was born, and God caused this baby to become ill and subsequently died all because of David’s sin.
Se we can see clearly from this story what a lack of restraint can do and how it can affect so many people. The sword never departed from David’s house because of his actions. And his wives would be given to others close to him. God brought calamity on the house of David the King. If he had only averted his eyes when he first saw her - instead, he inquired of her.
Genesis 4:2-16: Right from the beginning of time, God made it clear what we must do – master the evil desires of our heart. Cain was unable to control what he felt in his heart to the point where he killed his dear brother. If we are not able to control our feelings and emotions we are capable of committing terrible things. Think about times in your life when you were really angry – I know from personal experience how much easier it is to sin when you are angry. That’s why the Bible says, be careful that in your anger you do not sin. And without God’s presence in our lives any sin is possible.
So to sum up:
- Self-control is a fruit of the spirit
- It means to show restraint or to have power over one’s actions
- We need God’s presence in our lives to help us practise self-control so that we don’t sin
- We can use scripture that is hidden in our hearts to rebuke temptation or we can flee from whatever it is that causes us to sin against God
- God presents us with circumstances in our lives to help build up our ability of exerting self-control. It’s up to us as Christians whether we want to grow in our faith and produce more fruit in keeping with the Holy Spirit.
- If we think we lack self-control it’s just a matter of asking God to help us and He is faithful to do this.
Hebrews 13: 5-6, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you…The Lord is my helper…”