2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
This week we finish up our devotionals over the Fruit of the Spirit. I hope they have been of some benefit for you and made you think a little about what flows out of you and impacts others around you.
Today we are going to talk about self-control, or self-discipline. Webster defines self-control as, “restraint exercised over one’s won impulses, emotions or desires.” As Christians we should be working to have self-control on a constant basis. We should be fighting against our sinful nature and desires to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in the way the Lord would have us to go. Too often though, it is easy to give into impulses, emotions and desire.
We even see examples of it in the Bible. Two examples of lacking self-control stand out to me. You can read about them on your own if you don’t know or remember their stories. They are Samson (Judges 16) and David (2 Samuel 11.) Both of these men gave into their physical desires and didn’t exercise self-control. Because of it they both dealt with some very hard and difficult circumstances. Many times when we are dealing with a tough circumstance it is because of a position we put ourselves in by a lack of self-control.
I don’t want to focus on the negative side or lack of self-control though. I want us to think of two positive examples of self control. The first is where we should always look to first and that is to Jesus himself. Two examples of Jesus having self-control stand out to me. The first is when Jesus was tempted by satan (Matthew 4.) I love how it stresses that Jesus had fasted for forty days and makes sure to state he was hungry. Although he was God he was still a man. He knew what it is like to be hungry just like we do. He didn’t let that hunger cloud his self-control. Three times he didn’t allow satan’s temptations to take hold.
The other example of Jesus self-control that stands out to me is when he is arrested in the garden. He had been praying to God asking if there was another way to pay for all mans sin. He knew what had to happen and he wished there was another. Then the soldiers and leaders come to arrest Him and a small scuffle breaks out. Jesus stops it quickly and tells us in Matthew 26:53, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” Jesus had the power and opportunity to take matters into His own hands but he showed self-control and allow the plan of his death, resurrection, and man’s redemption through Him to take pace.
I loves to see the example Jesus set for us but I also like to look at other people in the bible that give us good examples to follow. When it comes to self-control Danial comes to mind. What Daniel did doesn’t seem like a very big deal but it was at that time. If you remember in Daniel 1 we are told, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.” Even when it came to something that doesn’t seem like a big deal to us, although it was a bigger deal in biblical times, Daniel didn’t want to compromise. He stood for and showed self-control.
As Christians this is a great example for us. We often think of losing self-control with “big things” like Samson and David. We defiantly should strive to be strong for big temptations but we also need to make sure we have strong self-control when it comes to the smaller things in life that other people may be watching us about. Self-control helps keep us from allowing compromise to creep into our life and move us away from where Christ would have us be.