Summary: The Holy Word of God contains many admonitions concerning the importance of the Christian being self-controlled. Proverbs 16:32 says, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
The Christian’s Power To Be Self-Controlled
The Holy Word of God contains many admonitions concerning the importance of the Christian being self-controlled. Proverbs 16:32 says, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” Also, Proverbs 25:28 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” Therefore, a Christian without self-control is always vulnerable to attack from the world’s influences, the devil and as well as his or her own self-destructive desires. Needless to say, that person is defenseless and bound to be defeated.
Christians are warned in 2 Timothy 3:3 that in the last days there will be increasing godlessness. Paul writes, “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, …without self control…” Certainly, no one would deny this trend today in society. Yet, the Apostle Paul exhorted the Christian, “Let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. Let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” (1 Thes. 5:6). Likewise, the Apostle Peter wrote, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Christ who called us by his own glory and goodness. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge and to knowledge, self-control.” (2 Pet. 1:3-6). Paul told young pastor Timothy, “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness as it is profitable for all things, not only in this life but also in the life to come.”
Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Bible teaches us to be self-controlled not to do self-control. It must be an outgrowth of the Spirit’s working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). In the biblical sense, self-control consists of the right use of the will under the controlling power and performance of he Holy Spirit who indwells the believer. The Greek word egkrateia means “self-control or continence.” The Greek word egkrateia is derived from another Greek word, kratos. Kratos means “strength.” Kratos is translated power in Eph. 1:19. “…According to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead…” (Eph. 1:19-20). Therefore, the power TO BE self-controlled is available for the Christian but AN AVAILABLE RESOURCE (RESURRECTION POWER) DOES NOT GUARANTEE AN APPLIED RESOURCE. One must appropriate this power to be self-controlled by faith.
Several steps are necessary before the POWER TO BE SELF-CONTROL is sustained in the Christian’s everyday life. To illustrate these steps, this message of truth examines the God-given example of Daniel as recorded in Daniel 1:1-15. Dare to be a Daniel should be the Christian’s cry in this “out of control” world in which wrong is right and right is considered wrong. Daniel was a man of God who possessed faith in God’s promises to enable him to live a self-controlled life. This becomes evident as you read this brief excerpt recorded in Daniel 1:1-15:
1. In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2. The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the vessels of the house of God; and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and he brought the vessels into the treasury of his god. 3. Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, 4. youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. 5. The king appointed for them a daily ration from the king’s choice food and from the wine which he drank, and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king’s personal service. 6. Now among them from the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7. Then the commander of the officials assigned new names to them; and to Daniel he assigned the name Belteshazzar, to Hananiah Shadrach, to Mishael Meshach and to Azariah Abed-nego. 8. But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. 9. Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials, 10. and the commander of the officials said to Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces looking more haggard than the youths who are your own age? Then you would make me forfeit my head to the king." 11. But Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12. "Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13. Then let our appearance be observed in your presence and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king’s choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see." 14. So he listened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days. 15. At the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king’s choice food.