Posted by: District Evangelist Graham Stanford
Paul wrote of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 however one fruit that eludes many is self-control. So often we find ourselves in situations where we wish we had more of an abundance of this attribute.
The Oxford dictionary refers to this as “the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult situations.”
Our catechism states “…the term self-control refers to self-restraint which manifests itself in moderation and abstinence. This virtue prevents budding desire from escalating into covetousness.” (CNAC 126.96.36.199)
The Lord Jesus was a great example of how to control oneself. He united Himself in oneness with His heavenly Father and did not allow Himself to lose self-control, even in the most difficult situations.
- Satan approached the Lord Jesus when He was weak after fasting for 40 days and enticed Him to turn stones into bread. The Lord Jesus did not allow Himself to be tempted by this and had the self-control to say “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (cf. Matthew 4: 2-4 (NIV)) Sometimes in our physical weakness, we succumb to different desires that do not originate from our heavenly Father. Let us always ask ourselves if indulging in these activities would bring us closer to God or further from Him. This will then help us to make the right decision and we would be utilizing self-control by being like the Lord!
- When the many wanted to stone the adulteress, as was allowed by the Mosaic law at that time, the scribes and Pharisees approached Jesus and asked “But what do You say?” Jesus calmly “wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.” They continued to ask Him and He said to them “…who is without sin…, let him cast the first stone.” (cf. John 8: 3-11 (NKJV)) In some situations, people often encourage a similar mob type approach, getting people to agree with their statements, quite often ganging up on individuals. This activity can be an opinion of someone’s actions or a comment on their character. Let us not be caught up in accusations of others but be like the Lord and demonstrate how we can see the good in others.
- During the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion, He was in great pain but still could state “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23: 33-34 (NKJV)) We truly can say we have not had to experience such distress in our lives. Even in situations where we might find ourselves falsely accused and are under duress, let us respond like the Lord and be gracious, instead of being vindictive or revengeful. Let us truly turn the other cheek as the Lord instructed us in the Sermon on the Mount.
In 2 Peter 1: 5-8 (NKJV) we can read:
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Let us make a concerted effort to ask our heavenly Father to help us with our self-control. When we allow Him to lead and guide us, we will be able to exercise self-control in all circumstances and situations we may encounter.
Previous articles in the Fruit of the Spirit series include Love and Joy
(District Elder Emery Jan 15/20), Peace and Longsuffering
(Bishop Voeun Mar 1/20), Kindness and Goodness
(Bishop Jansen Jun 1/20), Legacy of Faithfulness
(Bishop Sturm Jul 15/20), and Gentleness
(Bishop Trautmann Sep 1/20).