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Wednesday, December 04 2019

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION

We have finally come to the last of the graces of the fruit of the Spirit. These graces, seeds or virtues manifest when we allow the Holy Spirit express Himself through us. The KJV calls this 9th seed of the fruit of the Spirit, Temperance, the NKJV calls it “self-control”.

Galatians 5:22-23 (AMP) says: “But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Self-control is more commonly used today than Temperance. And Self-control is something that we have received from the Holy Spirit it’s also something that we have to exercise in our lives daily. Because we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, implies that we already have this grace in our hearts, but it’s up to us to bring it to the surface, to manifest it in the natural realm.

WHAT IS SELF-CONTROL?

Simply, it is the ability to control oneself, in particular one's emotions and desires, especially in difficult situations. As Christians, we need to exercise self-control in all things; it’s a very necessary part to the Christian life. Although it is possible to gain self-control by purely natural self-discipline; we can only go much further in exercising self-control, if we allow the Holy Spirit who dwells in us express Himself through us.

WHY MUST WE EXERCISE SELF-CONTROL?

There are basically three main reasons why we MUST exercise self-control.

  1. In consideration of others: Paul writing to the Corinthian church in 1 Cor.10:23-24 said in the TPT version: “You say, “Under grace there are no rules and we’re free to do anything we please.” Not exactly. Because not everything promotes growth in others. Your slogan, “We’re allowed to do anything we choose,” may be true—but not everything causes the spiritual advancement of others. So don’t always seek what is best for you at the expense of another.
  2. So that God’s Word is not dishonoured: In Titus 2:2-6 (AMP) Paul admonishing Titus, said in verse 2, “Older men are to be temperate . . .” and in verse 6 he said, “. . . young men (are) to be sensible and self-controlled....”

The reason for these is seen in verse 5c “. . .  so that the word of God will not be dishonoured.”

  1. In protection of our Souls: Proverbs 25:28 (TPT) says: “If you live without restraint and are unable to control your temper, you’re as helpless as a city with broken-down defences, open to attack.” We are at constant war with our own sinful desires that attempt to drag into sin (James 1:14), and wage war against our souls (1 Peter 2:11). Exercising self-control keeps our enemy from gaining a foothold over us, and it keeps sin from having the upper-hand in our thoughts, words, and actions.

HOW DO WE EXERCISE SELF-CONTROL?

Generally speaking, it is by creating boundaries and guidelines and living by them. Specifically, as Christians, it is by allowing the Holy Spirit dictate how we respond or react. Romans 8:14 (AMP) says: “For all who are allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

FIVE AREAS TO EXERCISE SELF-CONTROL

  1. Our Flesh

In 1st Corinthians 9:27 (AMP) Paul applies this strategy “But [like a boxer] I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached [the gospel] to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified [as unfit for service].”

TPT version put it this way:

“but I train like a champion athlete. I subdue my body[a] and get it under my control, so that after preaching the good news to others I myself won’t be disqualified.

The footnote [a] says: Or “I beat my body black and blue.” This is an obvious metaphor of placing the desires of one’s body as second place to the desires of the Holy Spirit. See Rom. 8:13.

  1. Our Time

One area that we really need have to self-control in is with our time. These days too many things can steal your time. Things like TV, Social Media, sometimes fellowships, hobbies, and many others. Even your family can steal your time. Nothing wrong with any of the above things, but in excess, they can steal your time. Colossians 4:5 (AMP) says:

“Conduct yourself with wisdom in your interactions with outsiders (non-believers), make the most of each opportunity [treating it as something precious].”

We need to use every chance we have to tell people about the Good News. Ephesians 5:15‑16 (LB) says: “So be careful how you act; these are difficult days. Don’t be fools, be wise: make the most of every opportunity you have for doing good.”

  1. Our Anger

Another area where we have to exercise self-control in is with our temper. Eccl. 7:9 says: “Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger dwells in the heart of fools.

Proverbs 16:32 (TPT) says: “Do you want to be a mighty warrior? It’s better to be known as one who is patient and slow to anger. Do you want to conquer a city? Rule over your temper before you attempt to rule a city.

We need to control our anger. If you do, you are better than the mighty.

Ephesians 4:26 (AMP) says, “Be angry [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behaviour], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down.

  1. Our Tongue

We must exercise self-control in what we say. Eccl.5 verses 2 and 6 say:

Don’t shoot off your mouth or speak before you think. Don’t be too quick to tell God what you think he wants to hear. God’s in charge, not you—the less you speak, the better.”

Don’t let your mouth make a total sinner of you. When called to account, you won’t get by with “Sorry, I didn’t mean it.” Why risk provoking God to angry retaliation?”

(James 1:19) Says, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

We are thus admonished to be slow to speak because when angry, many times, we speak off the top of our heads, and say things we don’t mean, things we’ll be sorry for later.

  1. Our Belly

There are those who have allowed their bellies to be their gods due to greed. The Bible says in Philippians 3:19 that their end is destruction! The ESV says: Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”

Proverbs 25:6 says: “If you find honey, eat just enough-- too much of it, and you will vomit.”

Proverbs 23:2 says: “Be careful to curb your appetite and catch yourself before you fall into the trap of wanting all you see.”

Proverbs 23:20 says: “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat.”

CONCLUSION

In 1st Corinthians 9:24‑27, Paul’s metaphor is about the lives of athletes in preparation for the old Grecian or Olympic Games, where every competitor had rigorous training before he/she could compete, during this rigorous training, they had to be temperate in all things. Even athletes today do much the same thing, they exercise temperance or self-control. Now if these athletes put in so much effort just to win a medal that fades, shouldn’t Christians put in even more effort to maintain their spiritual fitness and get an incorruptible crown? Of course we must take the pain to maintain our spiritual fitness by fasting, praying, fellowshipping, attending communal and individual Bible studies, etc.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 02:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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