GOT SELF-CONTROL?We all have to admit, we lose it from time to time, and others lose it so much that they have to go to anger management classes! Mankind has lost it so much, we have this saying, "Get a grip!" You know, God wants us to "get a grip", too, and as much and as long as possible. Oh, He knows you're human, but it's one more thing to pray for if you lose your self-control even here and there...
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil." (Prov. 4:23 - 27) A lot of advice in five sentences, wouldn't you say? Basically, the advice is to stay away from evil-speaking people, walk away from them, they are letting you know they are up to no good, and think about where you are going. Walk with people who are godly, just as you want to maintain godliness as close as you can get to. People who speak crookedly and perversely lead those kind of lives, and they live out-of-control lives because one attribute to ungodliness is chaos, and chaos is out of control, and if your life is out of control, this causes YOU to go out of control!
There is good advice to the unsaved, or maybe a new Christian, who realizes they have a problem with self-control; "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." (Rom. 13:14) Basically, repent from worldliness, and follow the examples from Christ, and self-control will become something they can get a grip on! Shed evil behavior and relationships, and act like Christ would have us do. Unless they have a Christian mentor to guide them, they will have to read the bible. It's okay to read the gospels first, but cover to cover, time and again, that is better. To do this is biblical obedience - "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." (Josh. 1:8) Part of good success is self-control!
"And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." (1 Cor. 9:25 - 27) This is more good advice, this time from Paul. We have to practice self-discipline, it doesn't necessarily come naturally. Here Paul compares it to controlling thrown punches in a boxing match, as opposed to wild swinging misses. Lastly he speaks of keeping his body under control, lest he appears as one who practices not what he preaches, and then nobody would listen to him; would you heed someone who doesn't do what they instruct others to do?
Once we get ourselves under self-control, we have to be strong. Now I wouldn't tell the women to be he-men, but I would say be a strong woman, and that idea says loads for all the grown women! Paul pretty much addressed the men on this issue..."Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." (1 Cor. 16:13) We should have noticed that we keep getting this advice to be watchful, diligent. For so many, it's easy to slip up and lose control. The devil likes that! We should keep him unhappy.
Many of us could learn from the following. Arguing with bosses can cause one to lose control. If we get upset with them, are we being submissive, according to His doctrine? Granted there are many heathens who are in charge of numbers of people, but do you know that God puts leaders in their places as either a blessing or punishment to all under their rule? Whosoever speaks against Christian doctrine, leave these kinds of people. In the chaos they will surely cause, you will be subject to losing self-discipline. "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and His doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." (1 Tim. 6:1 - 12) Many people confuse gain with godliness. They preach it in a letter to you, or on TV, and rarely in a crowd, for much effort is needed for the gain, but being able to be content with what you have is truly close to godliness. As Paul says, you certainly can't take it with you, and what use are wordly treasures in God's economy? Self control comes with godliness, righteouslness, faith, love, patience, and meekness. Collect each Christian attribute, and one becomes more Christlike!
Dedication. It's the key to self-control. Ex-smokers know this all too well! If they don't give themselves a purpose to dedicate quitting to, they won't succeed! Likewise, we must dedicate ourselves to being Christ-like if we are to succeed in maintenance of continuous self-control. Nothing achieved that is worthwhile is easy, "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully." (2 Tim. 2:3 - 5) God has given us the guidelines; let us follow them and fight the good fight, and use them to become Christlike, to exercise self-control continuously, that we might be pleasing unto Him who died for us. What a model of self-discipline, that while He prayed to the father that the cup be taken away, yet He exercised self-control all the way to the cross and His death to save the world!