The American Heritage dictionary defines self-control as "Control of one's emotions, desires or action by ones own will". The New Testament identifies self-control as one of the virtues a Christian should have. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. NIV Galatians 5:22,23 Self-control is also mentioned in the following passages: 1 Thessalonians 5:6,8, I Titus 3:2, Titus 1:8, 2:2, 2:5, 2:6, 2:12, I Peter 1:13, 4:7, 5:8, II Peter 1:6, I Colossians 7:5. It is obvious that the Bible considers self-control an important part of our lives.How does the Bible define self-control? In the context of the passages noted above self-control means:
Early Christians found that they needed self-control and the discipline that accompanied it to maintain solidarity against a hostile world. Early settlers to America also found that self-control was necessary to survive in the wilderness. It is interesting to note that when times are good and we have prosperity, few worries and a content existence our reliance on God and self-control diminishes. This has found to be true in every age of human history. We turn to new gods to worship in the good times and return to God in times of calamity and hardship.
America's new gods today are in all the sins of self-indulgence, i.e. sex, materialism and lack of self-control. These are evident in our divorce rate, the number of unwed mothers, the growth and acceptance of homosexuality, our consumption rate of the world's resources, the legalization of abortion, alcohol and drug abuse, children killing children, TV programs, etc. We place more reliance on our politicians for our well being than we do on God. The scary scenario is that our politicians are more interested in getting reelected than in the well being of the people they serve.
Well being requires a faith in God and a spirit filled life that gives us all the Christian virtues, including self-control such that we are not seduced by the temptations of a worldly life. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "no" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, up right and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. NIV Tit 2:11-14
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