Summary: Spiritual Growth is important! In this series we’ll use 2 Peter 1 as a blueprint for the areas we are called to continually add to our faith as we grow spiritually. This week: Self-Control
Growth by Addition
2 Peter 1:5-7 (NIV)
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
As we have been discussing the past few weeks, we are called to grow in our spiritual maturity in increasing measure. We have discovered together that we are never done in the process of growth; that we are to add to our faith in Christ.
From our new faith we are inspired to live a life of goodness.
From Goodness we seek to further our knowledge of God so that it will be made complete.
In our Knowledge of God, we find the motivation for Self-Control.
1. The Motivation for…
Let’s be honest, Self-Control is scary isn’t it? When we hear the words “self-control” most of automatically go, “Well, I guess I have at least one flaw! Self-control is tough!” Look at the Definition:
the ability to control your own behavior, especially in terms of reactions and impulses
Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
Self-control covers a multitude of “reactions and impulses” doesn’t it? I would go as far to say, the amount of importance you place on this stage of spiritual growth determines what kind of person you are. “Am I controlled by my impulses, or am I controlled by God?”
When people are right with God, they are apt to be hard on themselves and easy on other people. But when they are not right with God, they are easy on themselves and hard on others. - John Newton. (sermoncentral.com)
Isn’t that the truth? When we are growing in our knowledge of God, we recognize our need for God to continue that work in us; and we then become motivated towards Self-Control.
A. Motivated to Order
When I think of control, I think of order. When we place God as #1 in our hearts and lives, we begin to allow him to restore order in our lives.
Let’s take a step backward, because I feel it’s necessary to make this disclaimer here: If you have not surrendered your life to Christ first, you cannot expect God to help you control your impulses of sin!
In other words, you can’t skip the level of “Faith”. These other levels we’ve discussed (goodness, knowledge of God) will reinforce and strengthen your faith, but if we don’t have this basic level first, none of the rest of this will mean anything.
Proverbs 28:13 (NIV)
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
So now that we’ve established the need for Christ’s salvation, we must allow him to take control of our lives. You may have received His forgiveness, but that doesn’t mean you’ve made Him Lord.
You can walk into any Children’s Church class and see if the kids have allowed the teacher to enact order! If the leader is timid in anyway, those kids will run wild. But if they’re firm, yet loving, they will have the kids moving in an orderly way towards a purpose of learning more about their young faith!
If we are not willing to allow God to restore order to impulses and reactions, then we are out of control, and our lives will show it.
B. Motivated to Look Inward
Allowing God’s Order, means taking the step of looking inward. Motivation to grow in Self-Control is a big step because it means placing the blame back on us.
I heard a saying once, “If you could kick the person responsible for most of your troubles, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week!”
It’s not circumstance, or any other person—It is myself! The consequences of my sin are self-inflicted.
What are some areas that we leave uncontrolled? (Ask for examples)
We know where we fall short when we are out of control don’t we?
Does anyone remember learning to ride a bike for the first time? For me it was lesson in learning to apply the brakes. I actually picked up on the balance part pretty quick, but I had a hard time figuring out the breaks! I would be going so fast, but couldn’t figure out how to stop. So I would either run into something at high speeds, or bail and let the bike run into something.
Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)
Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.
There were short periods of time when I was in control on the bike, wasn’t there? But I wasn’t in complete control, and I had the scratches and bruises to prove it. If we fail to look inward, our guard is down and we are susceptible to sin!