Abundant Life Episode 29
In this episode Saso and Ben discuss the topic of self-control.
“The act or operation of holding back or hindering from motion, in any manner; hinderance of the will, or of any action, physical, moral or mental.”
– Websters 1828
Freedom That Lasts definition of self-control: “Adding self-control means instantly obeying God’s Word in the power of God’s spirit.”
II Peter 1:6
We say this verse every Friday night in Freedom That Lasts and it is important in dealing with any type of sin that we show temperance or to say another way, self-control.
Self-control is so difficult. But why? It’s simple, we like to indulge ourselves and pleasure ourselves because we are selfish. The problem with this is that the things we want to do often times are things that we ought not to do because they are sinful in nature. It’s like the diet thing, we all love to eat tacos, burgers and pizza, because they taste good but unfortunately those things are unhealthy when consumed without restrain and can lead to not only obesity but can cause serious health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure and so on.
How do we discipline ourselves to be obedient to God?
The first step to self-control is to be a born again believer. When you are born again the scriptures tell us that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19
- Ephesians 1:13
Since the Holy Spirit dwells within you, the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians is the result of the Holy Spirit’s presence in a believers life. Therefore if you don’t have the Holy Spirit, it is impossible for you to exercise self-control because you are a slave to sin.
Obedience requires that a believer to deny himself which isn’t always easy, but in reality to deny oneself is to be obedient to God.
Practicing instant obedience
It takes self-control to not only hear the words of Jesus Christ but to do them and live them out in your own life. We all know how to lose weight and get in shape, but to live it out and do it is another issue altogether. Be in our spiritual lives what will we build our house on? Will we be foolish or wise in our obedience to the Word.
Prior to salvation, we always obeyed and yielded to our flesh showing no self- control. Now that we have been redeemed, we should yield our bodies to purity and holiness.
David was asking God to give him understanding, so that he might exhibit self-control in obeying God’s Word. Delayed obedience is disobedience, and we can often reason within ourselves and rationalize sin if we choose not to obey immediately.
Examples of no self-control
Adam and Eve
We see Eve as she thought the fruit was nice looking and good for food. She also was tempted by the serpent to be like God knowing good and evil. This one act of disobedience and lack of self-control has lead to the fall of mankind. Because of this we are born sinners and condemned because of of the sin nature we inherit going all the way back to Adam and Eve.
Married a philistine woman which was prohibited by his parents, he broke his nazarite vow ate honey from a dead carcass, and divulged the secret to his strength to Delilah to his detriment. It’s as if Samson acted on impulse, and did whatever pleased himself with no regard for God.
David and Bathsheba
David was king, already had 6 wives, which was prohibited according to Deuteronomy 17:17, and by lack of self-control, he allowed his lust to take over and committed adultery with Bathsheba which eventually lead to the murder Uriah. His lack of self-control had repercussions for generations to come.
According to 1 Kings 11, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
At the root of all these examples we see a disregard for self-control, and a regard for selfishness and pleasing ones self. In contrast we see direct disobedience to God which has ultimately resulted in separation from God.
Sowing and reaping of our decisions
Ken Collier gave a diagram which present two choices: Pleasing God or pleasing self. Pleasing God (self-control) is hard at the interim but is easy in the end because of the reaping of good consequences, pleasing self (no self-control) is easy in the interim but the consequences of such is hard and damaging to self and others.
We always reap what we sow, and we reap more than we sow, and we must not be weary as we wait because it takes time for the crow to come up, but it will come.
Biblical helps for exercising self-control
In proverbs we read about the fear of God, however, there is a connection with self-control.
Some bible interpretations use the word discipline inlace of instruction. If you are despising wisdom and discipline, how can you exercise self-control when you are in a rebellious state of mind? It’s just like Samson or Solomon who didn’t withhold any pleasure. When you fear God, you are placing your self in to subjection, surrendering yourself to the will of God which sets you free to exercise self-control.
One of the most practical ways that the Bible gives us is to simply not put purposely place ourselves in a position to sin. In other words, don’t set yourself up for failure.
The apostle Paul loves to use athletic metaphors in his teaching. He talks about how athletes exercises self-control and then makes application. These following verses are talking about Paul’s single focus of bringing as many people to Christ as possible, however, what if we were to take this same mindset and apply it to self-control.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
As Christians are so afraid of the salvation by works gospel (which is false by the way) that we don’t realize that the works should come after salvation. Remember we are God’s Workmanship unto good works.
Practically speaking, how does this work? It starts with reading and meditating on the scriptures.
We must read the scriptures to find out what God’s commands and expectations are for us. We must find out what pleases and displeases him and then by faith put it into practice.
Going back to the versus Paul penned in 1 Corinthians, we should be exercising our faith by obeying God’s commands. If we don’t exercise our faith, will it ever grow? If we don’t obey God we will likely obey ourselves or the world which does not have a good outcome.
No longer a slave to sin
- Romans 6:17
- Romans 6:12-14
- Romans 8:12-13
- Colossians 3:5
Practical ways to exercise self-control
These are just a few thoughts to get your mind engaged on applying self-control into your life.
- When someone gets your order wrong at your fast food restaurant. Do you blow up in their face or are you merciful and calm?
- When someone cuts you off in traffic do you perform hand gestures out of the window or do you simply wave and forgive them?
- When you are get caught up on your favorite social media platform like Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok do you continue scrolling through endless cat videos your do you limit your screen time and use the precious time God has given you on the Earth to do something of value?
- When you are eating a delicious meal and you are full, do you go for another round because it tastes so good or do you simply stop eating knowing that you are content?
- When your boss or co-worker irritates you and makes you mad, do you give them the cold shoulder and avoid or ignore them or do you brush it off knowing that your testimony is of greater value than your feelings?
- When a brother or sister at church rubs you the wrong way do you shun them or do you forgive and respond in love?
- When you start watching your favorite TV show after a long day of work and it turns out that it’s a 24 hour marathon, do you pull an all nighter binging or do you simply turn off the TV knowing that your rest is more important because you have to function the following day at your job?
- Men when you are happily driving down the road and a young lady in yoga pants is running your direction do your eyes pop out of socket or do your eyes bounce to the other side of the street knowing that you are honoring God and your wife?
- When your children upset and anger you do you spank or chastise them out of anger perhaps because they inconvenienced you or shamed you in some way, or do you take the time to calmly chastise them with the mindset of restoring their relationship to you and to God as well?
- Ladies when your husband does something stupid, do you disrespect and dishonor them or do you patiently wait for a good opportunity to have a calm, adult discussion about the incident?
- When you are alone and no one is watching, where do you thoughts and actions take you, do you trust that the Lord is present and watching or do you act like God is not present and do as you please?
Walking in the Spirit
We must first walk in the Sprit in order not to fulfill the lust of the flesh. We need not to get into shape but we go the gym, so that we may get into shape.
We need our lives to be controlled by the Spirit or we will resemble a city in Bible times that had no walls or barriers to oppose those that sought to destroy it. We have an enemy who desires to destroy us.
There is victory in Jesus, and we should thank Him for giving us the victory to exhibit self-control in our Christian life.
I Corinthians 15:10
We need God’s grace in order to live this Christian life. We need His help, or we will not be successful no matter how hard we try.
- II Corinthians 9:8
- James 4:6-7
Submission requires humility and humility is required of us if we are to be given more grace from God. We need all the grace we can get in order to live and please God.
In what areas do you need to exhibit self-control?
Are you proud and thinking you can just resolve your own sin issues or you submitting yourself to God?
What verses do you need to memorize in order to exhibit self-control in the areas in which you are tempted?
A Challenge for you – Write down these “verses for victory” on a 3×5 card or have them on your phone or hang them in places that are visible.
Self-control does not come overnight, but God have given us the victory and we need to claim the victory He has given us.
Do you want to have victory in 2022? We hope 2022 be a year that is life changing and one that yields eternal fruit.
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