Consider Him full of self-control
In Jesus we see the ultimate in self-control. The way he handled his critics and enemies, the way he handled the false accusations, when he had all the right and power to shut people down and to defend himself, yet he chose not to for our sake. His life of prayer and following his Father is obviously our target to emulate.Never fraught under the pressure of demand revealed one who was calm within himself, centred and self-possessed and thus able to cope.
In the old testament there are some shining examples like David when he is abused by Shemei (2 Sam 16) as he is forced to leave jerusalem during Absalom's rebellion. It would have been so easy and justifiable to lash out as his soldiers wanted to but David is rather able to submit all that is happening to the will of God, accepting that maybe Shemei is right, his time had come and he was willing to wait on the judgement of God.
Self control – in the ancient hellenistic world referred to the power or Lordship that one has over oneself. It means superiority over every desire, especially food, sex and use of the tongue.Do we control what we eat or does it control us?Can we control our sexual appetites or do they control us?The tongue, can we control it or does it have to gossip and say negative things?what do we think about? Are we constantly thinking about how we can be fulfilled in these things, are we geared, building our life in order to find fulfilment in these areas or are we in control? It's a battle. George Verwer describes himself as a 'struggler' and I like that from a man who has been so mightily used by God. Truth is we are all 'strugglers' in diferent ways but we often don't like to admit it, maybe for reasons of pride but maybe out of fear of our weaknesses being used against us. It's a real blessing if you have some faithful, trustworthy friends you can confide in and pray with!
So grateful for James word 3:2 'if anyone is never at fault in what they say , they are perfect, able to keep their whole body in check' , we are on a journey won't arrive till glorification, but we have grace today. I often challenge myself with the question: will I be able to take this with me into heaven, this attitude, this behaviour, if not then I need to start to leave it behind now. RT Kendall says: 'find out what grieves the spirit and stop it', He goes on to say that, 'the onus is on us to show we have the Holy Spirit not by speaking in tongues but mastery over our bodies'.
An interesting challenge is not just to think about self control negatively, can I resist this temptation or that sin but what about having the strength to say no to legitimate desires, to suppress my will, to die to self? This involves letting others have their own way sometimes, to go where they want, to eat what they might like, these are not issues of right and wrong but more in the realm of relationship building.
Control over ourselves can release us to be free but also release blessing into the life of others and enable us to live for the glory of God!
To strengthen our self control does not require more effort on our part so much as more reliance upon Jesus, allowing his grace to work in us. Trusting in the word of God, learning to stand on the truth is the battle that we face. The devil is constantly lying and accusing us, telling us we can't make it and that we are no good, but by learning to stand, to root ourselves in what God says about us we can begin to get more control of our own beings.
Jesus is our goal so let us fix our eyes upon him afresh!