Summary: I guess of all the nine fruits of the Spirit, “self-control” is the one with which we might feel the greatest sense of unease. Self-control is allowing God to be in control of your will and heart and seeking the Spirit to enable us. Then we will know what
Opening illustration: Some years ago the press had reported that the president of a Midwestern theological seminary was fired after the Board of Directors determined that his temper had imperiled his leadership. The president confessed to “misappropriation of anger,” and after hours of agonizing discussion and interviews with the president and vice presidents, a majority of the board members concluded that the expressions of anger had irreparably damaged his ability to lead the seminary. Who would have thought that after years of educational preparation and in-depth study of Scriptures this president would lose his job because he could not control his emotions. On the other hand there was an article that reported two penniless refugees from Cuba who came to the USA in the 1970s and became millionaires because of their ability to control their emotions.
The mention of the term self-control undoubtedly brings to mind different images for people depending on their particular circumstances. Many probably think of combating dominating habits that can range from the simple to the more complex and debilitating. It may be as simple as a poor diet or a tendency to overeat at Thanksgiving, or to talking too much. It may also be something far more serious like chain smoking, drunkenness, drug abuse, sexual sins (pornography and adultery), a quick temper, a pattern of exaggerating or lying, etc. Others may think of dealing with an abusive spouse, parent, or employer or of dealing with their own tendencies toward losing control and becoming abusive. Others need self-control because they are lazy or have poor work habits while others are workaholics and need self-control to back off and learn to relax.
Regardless, self-control is very much an important part of maturity. One of the basic characteristics of infancy is a lack of self-control. Not only do babies need diapers, they must be carried because they lack the necessary control and muscle coordination to sit up much less walk or run. If babies are healthy and normal, in time they will develop more and more self-control - a sure sign of growth and maturity.
The importance of self-control can be seen in the news media which graphically portray how the lack of self-control, because of man’s various inner cravings, impact our society for evil. Plainly, when men and nations turn away from God and seek significance, security, and satisfaction through the desires of the flesh, it leads to a blatant absence of self-control. This will then manifests itself in hundreds of ways with devastating results on individuals, families, on certain groups in a society (the fatherless, the widow, and the poor [see Isaiah 1: 21-23]), and on society as a whole.
Let us look into God’s Word and see what kind of self-control God desires of us.
Introduction: Self-Control (Proverbs 16:32; 25:28; Rom 13:12-14; I Corinthians 6:12; 9:25-27; 1Thessolonians 5: 22; Titus 2:12; Heb. 12:2; II Peter 1:5-7) is allowing God to be in control of your will and heart and seeking the Spirit to enable us. Then we will know what not to do and guard the areas we are weak in. This will allow us to have discipline and restraint with obedience to God and others. It is not letting distractions derail or remove us from His will and plan so we will not be held back with what Christ called us to do.