The apostle Paul describes the grace of gentleness as an adornment we wear when we are walking by the Spirit (Colossians 3:12) . However, the spiritual clothing of self-control seems more like the armor we wear when we are in a battle.
The definition of self-control, or self-discipline implies self-restraint of one’s desires and lusts. Plato used this term to describe the person who has mastered his desires and love of pleasure [under the guidance of the Holy Spirit]. There are two common denominators in this definition – One is the control of the self – self-restraint, self-government. The second common denominator is the object of control – our passions, appetites, pleasures, desires, and impulses. Paul took great pains to list for us the works of the flesh in Galatians 5: immorality, impurity, sensuality, drunkeness, and carousing. But only the Spirit’s self-control can help us avoid them. Why? Because within every believer is a tremendous struggle goes on between the flesh and the Spirit (Galatians 5:17) The flesh and the Spirit are in a constant battle to win the battle of self-control.
WHEN IS SELF-CONTROL NEEDED?
As a fellow believer, you will agree, “To a greater or lesser degree, if you are alive you are tempted.” Consequently, you and I need God’s self-control every minute of the every day in every area of life where we find ourselves facing temptations.
WHAT DOES SELF-CONTROL DO
When you and I are walking by the Spirit, His self-control is evident in our lives. That’s when we’ll reflect these strengths:
- Self-control controls and checks the self
- Self-control restrains the self
- Self-control disciplines and masters the self
- Self-control holds in and commands the self
- Self-control says “NO!” to self
WHAT DOES SELF-CONTROL NOT DO
Looking at what God’s self-control isn’t also helps us understand this important fruit of the Spirit
- Self-control does not yield to temptations
- Self-control does not give into desires
- Self-control does not participate in sin
- Self-control does not indulge itself
- Self-control does not satisfy itself
The motto of self-control means “the ability to say NO!”
How do we nurture self-control in our lives?
- Begin with Christ. Is He your Lord and Master? As one wise person has noted, “The beginning of self-mastery is to be mastered by Christ, to yield to his lordship.”
- Monitor your input. Are you looking at the wrong things in your life to fulfill the desires of your life [heart]. Psalms 101:3 says “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.”
- Stay busy. Make a schedule [plan] and keep it! Volunteer to help others. Do whatever it takes to stay busy. By doing so, you will refuse to eat “the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:27) and you’ll find yourself with less time to be tempted.
- Say “NO!” – King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 25:28 “Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.” The word NO forms the armament and protective walls of the spiritual city….Sometimes NO can be a hard word to say, but it is the key to self-control, the word that the Lord blesses.
- Pray about every aspect of your self-control journey with the Lord.
Note: The above information is a study taken from the book, “A Woman’s Walk With God, Growing in the Fruit of the Spirit” by Elizabeth George