October 21 - Self Control
The process of sanctification involves more of God’s presence in our lives and less of our selves. When we can totally nail our bodies to the cross and let God rule, we have arrived at the place of rest that God has promised us. Total obedience to God with no regard for our selves is the goal of every believer. That, in itself, would require much dying, much controlling of the self not to get in God’s way and be able to do God’s will no matter we like it or not.
The psalmist gives a beautiful picture of self-control. We have to bring the festal sacrifice, the sacrificial animal to the horns of the altar to be offered to the Lord. However, the animal (like our bodies), would react and refuse to be offered. It is necessary to bind the animal with ropes and bring it to the altar. This would require conviction, bringing our lives in line with God’s will in total abandonment of the self.
Proverbs also talks about a man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. Self-control is like a wall of protection around us, preventing the enemy from entering and taking over our lives. The breakdown of self-control is like city walls falling around us, any enemy may then come in and take control of the city. Controlling of the self is not to limit our freedom but it enhances our true freedom to do what God wants us to do.
The false teachers did not have control over their own craving for controversy and for quarrels about words. As a result, envy, dissensions, slander, evil suspicions and constant friction came among the people. If teachers do not control their natural tendencies and let their minds dictate their teachings, they may fall into heresies easily.
Another tendency is about curbing the desire to be rich. Godliness without contentment is always not enough. Those who desire to get rich would fall into temptation. These evil desires can plunge people into ruin and destruction. The inability to control these cravings have sent many away from the faith and into much trouble. Demas is such an example. Because of the love of the world, he left the group and went on to Thessalonica.
Every command that Paul gives has to do with bringing the self into submission of God’s will. He urges Timothy to flee from these temptations and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and gentleness. He has to fight the good fight with much self-control and take hold of the eternal life to which he was called. Do you have self-control? Is the Holy Spirit controlling you or you are listening to your own needs and wants? Give Him the control now.
Ps 118:22-29 Jer 37:1-38:28 1 Tim 6:1-21 Prov 25:28