Summer approaches, and it’s time to get over the winter slump of no exercise, over-eating, and hibernating with large bowls of nachos while binge-watching The Chosen.
It’s time to try some self-control. Especially before we put on our cycling spandex (like me) or go to a beach.
We use the phrase “self-control” in our conversations about exercise, diets, and expenditures. The Bible teaches righteousness, godliness, and self-control, but while “righteousness” is used 92 times in the New Testament and “godliness” is used 15 times in the New Testament – we find “self-control” only four times in three verses.
Self-control is listed in Galatians 5:23 as the last fruit of the Spirit, “. . . gentleness and self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Self-control is listed twice in 2 Peter 1:6, “. . . to knowledge add self-control, and to self-control add perseverance.”
And Acts 24:25 describes Paul talking to the Roman procurator Felix, “He [Paul] reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment.”
That’s it. Four times in three verses. But what do we learn about self-control in these verses?
First: It is a fruit of the Spirit.
The full application of self-control is beyond our ability, which we have already found out while trying to maintain any semblance of a diet over the Christmas holidays.
Self-control is a supernatural gift.
Second: The Apostle Peter tells us to add self-control to knowledge.
There are two words for knowledge in the New Testament: “oida” which means intellectual knowledge, and “ginosko” which means practical wisdom.
For Biblical wisdom to be applied, we need self-control!
Third: In Acts 26, we find Festus as a new Roman ruler over Judea.
Paul has been brought up on false charges by the Jewish leaders, and he is one of Festus’s first problems.
Paul has a chance to defend himself and appeal for his freedom. Instead, he preaches to a Roman ruler about self-control and the judgment that will come if Festus doesn’t live a righteous life.
Hopefully, when we are brought up on charges for preaching the Bible, we will preach righteousness and not compromise.
Let’s summarize what the New Testament says about self-control . . .
First: It’s supernatural.
Second: It’s needed to know and live God’s wisdom.
Third: It’s uncompromising.
Many of us lack self-control, and our culture is a prime example of losing self-control. Why? Because we haven’t sought God for self-control while asking with a willingness to apply His wisdom in an uncompromising manner.
Let’s try self-control this week.
And next week and the week after that. In fact, it should be our lifestyle! We should be supernatural followers of Jesus, living with wisdom and controlled by God’s Spirit.