Saturday, December 23, 2006

Adding Self Control

Continuing our series on 2 Peter 1:5-7 we look at self-control.

The word for self-control is "encratic". The root "crat" is the same as that in autocrat or democrat. It means rule or power. The "en" at the beginning implies inward. Therefore someone who is self-controlled is someone who has the power to rule inwardly. A self-controlled man has power over his passions, appetites and desires. He has dominion over himself. This is the kind of self-control an athlete would have in training and preparation for his event. I Corinthians 9:25 says that everyone who competes for the prize is self-controlled in all things. The athlete in the natural sphere trains for a perishable prize, but we an imperishable one. As Christian men, we should be as self-controlled in our quest for the eternal prize as is an Olympic athlete is in his quest.

Scripture also teaches us that temperance or self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit. That's encouraging to me because it tells me that I don't have to come up with this characteristic on my own. It is a product of the Spirit of God at work in my life. It also tells me that self-control is in opposition to the deeds of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:18 where such things as adultery, fornication, uncleanness and lewdness are listed. These are the natural results of the flesh being in control. When the Spirit is in control, these are replaced by the fruits of the Spirit. The final fruit listed in verse 23 is self-control.
In Acts 24:25 Paul testifying before Felix reasoned about righteousness, self control and the judgment to come. God expects us to live a righteous life. Such a life is very much a life of self control. We are to be ruling over our passions and natural instincts. That’s what makes us men and not animals. All of this is related to the fact that there is a judgment to come when each one of us will give an account of ourselves before God.