Add Self-Control

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence,
in your faith supply moral excellence,
and in your moral excellence, knowledge,
and in your knowledge, self-control,
and in your self-control, perseverance,
and in your perseverance, godliness,
and in your godliness, brotherly kindness,
and in your brotherly kindness, love.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing,
they render you neither useless nor unfruitful
in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted,
having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent
to make certain about His calling and choosing you;
for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
  for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
will be abundantly supplied to you.
2 Peter 1:5-11

Self-control is a God-empowered mastery of internal desires that requires an exercise of discipline controlled by the Holy Spirit.  It is better to call this virtue Spirit-control, because we cannot truly accomplish it without the Holy Spirit’s help.

An example of someone who was not Spirit-controlled is Samson.  Read Judges 13-16 to find out about the many things Samson did to satisfy his own desires.  It is particularly sad in his case, because he had been given a special mandate before he was born to live a godly, holy life.  By looking at the choices he made, he did not seem to value this God-given plan for his life.

Jesus is an example of a person who was and is Spirit-controlled.  He did nothing based on fulfilling His own desires.

For I did not speak on My own initiative,
but the Father Himself who sent Me
has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.
I know that His commandment is eternal life;
therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.
John 12:49-50

so that the world may know that I love the Father,
I do exactly as the Father commanded Me
John 14:31a

It is easy to say, “Well, that is Jesus.  Of course, He did what God told Him to do.”  Yet, He could have chosen to do things differently, and He didn’t.  Think how hard it is for you to do right sometimes – to keep from doing the thing you really want to do but know that you shouldn’t do.  It is so hard that sometimes we cave in and do the wrong thing.  Jesus “has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15b).  He never caved in or bent toward the wrong thing; that is incredible strength.  He demonstrated that it is possible even for us to depend on the Holy Spirit to help us not to sin.

It will not be possible to have this kind of control in your life unless you know the Holy Spirit.  You will need to read the Bible and learn about God so that you can trust Him to have control of your life.  It is a trust worth having.

Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
For the sake of Your name, O Lord, revive me.
In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble.
Psalm 143:10-11

Many of my thoughts in this “Add” series have come from Essentials Virtues by Jim Berg.

Other posts in this series:
Add Faith
Add Virtue – moral excellence
Add Knowledge of God

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