Self Control is the ability to subdue our impulses in order to achieve longer-term goals. Rather than responding to immediate impulses, we can plan, evaluate alternative actions, and, often enough, avoid doing things we will later regret. (see Psychologytoday.com)
Self Control is a visible attribute of a true Christian’s life.
- Galatians 5:20-23New International Version (NIV) 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Exercising self-control shifts our center of focus and there are two possibilities.
1) Shifting our focus by denying our urge to please our flesh which for the Christ follower is the realization of the need for help in focusing more on pleasing God.
2) On the other hand giving into our flesh in ways that are not pleasing to God. This option can have dire consequences as was the case with David who failed to exercise self-control towards Bathsheba, wife to Uriah. He slept with her and got her pregnant and when he found out, he gave instructions for Uriah to be sent to the warfront where he was killed so he could have Bathsheba to himself. (2 Samuel 11)
- The COST for lack of Self Control can be HUGE. God was displeased with David and let him know he would spare his life but his child would die.
- The cost or and the consequences can be avoided in a lot of cases by exercising SELF CONTROL.
Where God-Focused control has prevailed only AWESOME things have resulted. Remember, Joseph took off, rather than give into the advances of Potiphar’s wife and later became in charge of the wards in the prison where he was jailed and subsequently put in charge of Egypt (Gen. 39 v.21-23; Gen. 41 v. 14).
IN OUR DAILY LIVES
– It may be the love for oatmeal raisin cookies such that rather than quit at two cookies, we begin to negotiate with ourselves by telling ourselves that it is ok to dust off a dozen cookies, since we will be going to the gym later on in the day, which in most cases does not happen.
– It could be the co-worker who asks in tone and manner that grates on your ears by the mere utterance of the words “calm down” for no other reason but to prevent you from airing a different position on the proposal to the group.
– It could be the almost overwhelming urge to lash out over the phone because the customer service representatives have made me tell my story over five times in less than hour to three different reprensatives on two different continents.
The best part is that we do not have to carry these burdens on our own since Jesus Christ promised believers of Christ, a helper, the Holy Spirit to assist us in our daily living (John 14 v. 16-18).
A lot of times exercising self-control and not being too quick to respond to a situation, gives us the objectivity to avert doing major damage.
Self-control is similar to a muscle that is built by exercising it.
Self-control is built through prayer and learning more about what God desires of us through reading His word.