Today I’m sharing a devotion about the importance of self-control in our lives as Jesus followers, and the wonderful promise of freedom we get from growing in this beautiful fruit of the Spirit.
The Freedom Of Self-Control
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”
The Bible is clear that self-control is both godly and one of the fruits of the Spirit. This control is about being able to deny our fleshy desires, and live according to the Spirit. 2 Timothy 5:7 says “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”
Self-control is about resisting our natural fleshy desires. Self-control is about submitting ourselves to God’s Spirit and to His Truth, in order to live holy lives. And as we experience freedom from sin and its awful consequences, we experience true freedom.
Often, self-control is also about setting boundaries in relation to areas where we might be tempted. For instance, if someone had an alcohol addiction before coming to Christ, and then fell into that sin once again after, he or she might need to establish some boundaries to stop them from falling again.
So self-control is not just a reactive attitude to sin, but also a proactive decision. It’s about being realistic about the flesh we still live with and battle against.
A good Biblical example of someone establishing wise boundaries for self-control is Joseph. Upon being sold as a slave by his brothers, Joseph went to Egypt and was placed in the house belonging to the captain of the guard, one of Pharaoh’s officers, Potiphar.
God was with Joseph, and he worked well and found favour with Potiphar, who made him overseer of his entire household. Soon after, though, Joseph encountered problems. Potiphar’s wife found Joseph attractive and asked him to lie with her. Joseph refused, and the Bible says that “as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.” (Genesis 39:10—ESV)
Potiphar’s wife did not take no for an answer, though. One day when Joseph went into the house and none of the men of the house were there, Potiphar’s wife took the opportunity, and she grabbed him by his clothes, saying “Lie with me.” But Joseph left his garment in her hand, and got out of the house as fast as his legs would carry him!
Here again we have a wonderful example of godly control. The kind of control that does not entertain sin, rather it creates boundaries to keep it out. Self-control is about relinquishing our fleshy desires instead of letting them control us. Can you see how self-control is actually about both control and surrender? It’s about taking control of our fleshy desires, and then surrendering to God’s rule.
We can only grow in self-control when we understand that our fleshy desires will not afford us the joy that God offers us when we live according to His will. Therefore, we grow in self-control, as we grow in knowing God.
Questions for reflection
– Are there any areas of your life God has shown you need to grow in self-control?
– Is there anyone you could confess your sin to and become accountable to?
– What do you need to do to grow in self-control?
Lord, thank Your for Your grace and mercy though I fail in this area. Lord, strenghthen me in my innermost being so that I can grow in self-control and relinquish sin. Thank You that in Jesus I have died to sin, and I am now alive in You. Lord, help me to walk by Your Spirit! Amen.
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