Recipe for the Christian Life - SELF-CONTROL
Today is the fourth post in the series on growing in our Christian Walk. Developing a Christian life is kind of like baking a recipe - good ingredients create a perfect treat. Adding good characteristics to our faith produces good Christians.
If you recall, last month we started with an empty mixing bowl - our FAITH. A few weeks ago we added GOODNESS and KNOWLEDGE to our faith.
Today we are going to add in SELF-CONTROL.
It's always good to start with the very basic definition of "self-control" (from the online dictionary):
self-control - 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. Self-discipline, self-restraint.
Self-control is a characteristic that has been forgotten about in our modern world. In society today, anyone can say and do what they want, just as long as it makes them "happy" or just as long as they have a political stand to make (however, recently we have seen that opinions on the conservative side are not allowed by society).
Often, if you are self-controlled you are being considerate of other people. Striving to be self-controlled will not only benefit yourself but it will benefit those around you.
If you read all of Titus chapter 2 you will notice that "self-control" is mentioned many times. In these verses "self-control" should be practiced by EVERYONE. In other words, it doesn't matter what stage of life you are in, or what class status, or what gender, or what race.
Self-control is a characteristic that we should all strive to have in our faith.
In everything that we do, we must be self-controlled through our ACTIONS. We must show restraint in good and bad times, we must have a strong willpower and be disciplined showing the grace of Jesus our Lord & Savior.
"Therefore prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed"
(1 Peter 1:13)
I find it so interesting that our "minds" must be clear and prepared for both PRAYER & ACTION. Have you ever had difficulty praying because your mind was racing on things happening in your life? - That has been the case for me many times. If your mind is not clear then it is impossible to honestly have quiet time with God. Prayer is so much more listening than talking. God molds us through prayer and how can we understand anything if thoughts are racing through our mind? Thoughts like: "I have to do the laundry" or "I better help the kids with their homework" or "I'm hungry - doesn't chocolate sound good?" We must clear our minds of all of this clutter before we pray.
"The end of all things is near; Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray"
(1 Peter 4:7)
Then there's TEMPTATION. Look at the verse below and notice the vivid detail - "the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." Being self-controlled & alert is necessary to help defend ourselves against Satan and temptation. I wonder if our heavenly Father wants "self-control" to become second nature - like a good habit. Especially since self-control is vital for prayer, for our actions & during temptation.
There is a vacant rundown house in my neighborhood and it is literally out of control. This dilapidated house has skunks, opossums and stray cats living on or under the porch and garage. There is junk piled to the ceiling on the front & back porches and there are also many wasp nests and the worst smell of mold coming out of this house. This state of disrepair is what I think of when I read the verse below.
Self-control is an essential characteristic for a righteous Christian Life - Let's strive to make that a priority!
Over the next few weeks we will continue adding to the GOODNESS, KNOWLEDGE & SELF-CONTROL in our faith (from 2 Peter 1:3-11).
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