Summary: This message explores the nature of self control and how to walk in it in partnership with God. Practical action steps are included.
Pastor Eric J. Hanson
August 6, 2006
The writings of God through the apostles Peter and Paul could not be clearer on this matter of the Christian life. If a person genuinely comes into a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, that person comes into a new way of living. It is this changed way of living which is outlined in a broad and major way in the scriptures we have just heard.
To deal with each area touched upon by these scriptures would take a week end seminar with many hours of teaching and interaction. A Sunday morning message can’t begin to do that, and I will not attempt it.
Instead, I intend to focus in on one area of life that God tells us is to be far different after one begins to follow the Lord, than it was before.
Let me add a disclaimer at this point. Self-condemnation tried very hard to talk me out of speaking on this topic. My family members know that my self control is not perfected. There are times that I really miss the mark. It would be much easier on my flesh to preach about Signs of the Last Days, and when the Rapture will happen, or a proper understanding of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, or many other informational topics.
This one drives me to the Cross of Christ, so that my pride can die there. I must obey the Lord’s leading and not rob the people of this Church, when the Holy Spirit puts His finger on any subject and says to speak on it. So here goes…
Self Control is a part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. If anyone is growing in the Lord, or as the Bible puts it, “growing in Grace and in the knowledge of the Lord”, they are growing in self control. If there is little self control evident in the life of any professing believer in Jesus, than there is little of the Holy Spirit’s power in that person’s life.
Self control is like a double edged sword. It accomplishes two major things in us. 1. It stops us from doing wrong things. 2. It keeps us going in doing right things.
Self control questions:
Let’s look at some scenarios and questions concerning the presence of self control in your life.
• How are you as a finisher of responsible actions? When it is your turn to do the dishes for instance, and you look over at the overflowing countertop, do you go to it and complete the task in a reliable manner, or are you more likely to end up being a slothful couch potato for the evening, or to go do something fun, and simply fail to do your fair part?
• When the pornographic pop up ad entices you on your computer, do you delete it every time, or do you tend to get drawn away by the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh?
• Are you careful to not say negative things about people with whom you are upset, to third parties who are not involved in the situation?
• When it is getting late, and you know that you need to be at your best at school or work early the next morning, do you shut off the TV, or put away the hobby and get the sleep God designed you to need, in order to be sharp.
• When you need to finish your homework and also study for the quiz that’s coming at school tomorrow, do you shut of the video game and just do it, even though its no fun?
• Are you aware that just showing up at work or school, but not being able to give it your best, because the late night already got your best, is a lack of faithfulness in carrying out your responsibilities, and true faithfulness is impossible to maintain without self control?
• When you need to deal with some negative situation, but you know that to do so could and probably will be unpleasant, do you do the hard thing and deal with it, redemptively, and in a timely way?
• When you walk into the mall, and you have a pocket full of credit cards, what is likely to happen?
There could be hundreds of scenarios suggested, and some of them are more drastic than these, but all self control questions are important.
Benefits of self control:
Self control in abundant and increasing measure will stop people from doing or saying vengeful and hurtful things.
Self control in increasing measure will create ways for you to escape from bad habit patterns.
Self control in doing what is right and what is needed will create a stable platform in your life, for faithfulness and reliableness to grow on.