"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control" II Peter 1:5-6
As I have thought about this great portion of Scripture I think of how few people I see who actually live self-controlled lives.
I have recognized three ways people deal with life in the 21st century:
The Self-Dedicated Life
The Self-Medicated Life
The SELF - CONTROLLED Life, I Corinthians 9:24-27
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
“self-control” = “getting a grip on your life - establishing stability”
This is the life God has called you and equipped you to live!
Five Qualities Of Self-Controlled Living:
POSITIVE GOALS, V. 24 – “Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win”
Self-controlled people live for a goal bigger than their own desires and wants. Here are some positive goals to live by:
Spiritual growth is your responsibility. You will have to answer to God for how well you developed the grace He placed within you. It is up to you to bend every effort to add moral courage to your faith and to know the heart, the mind and the holiness of God!
Live with integrity
Integrity means to integrate what you believe into how you live. Self-controlled people will say what they mean, do what they say, and humbly seek forgiveness when they don't.
Self-control requires help from the outside. Just like an athlete needs a coach and and a referee, a growing Christian who values self-control will allow a trusted friend to hold him to a high standard.
PRACTICES DISCIPLINE, V. 25 – “All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize”.
What disciplines have you built into your life? Discipline means saying "no" to harmful things and "yes" to helpful things!
World-class athletes can't be gold medal contenders by sitting at the Krispy Kreme every day. Olympians give up the donuts to have a chance at the gold.
PROVIDES FOCUS, V. 26 – “So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches.”
How do you maintain your discipline in the pursuit of your goals?
I watched the sprinters in the Olympics and they were running directly at the finish line with their full focus on that tape. They weren't looking back or to the side or zig-zagging but striding straight to the finish.
Self-controlled Christians stay focused on the goal of pleasing God with their spiritual growth!
PROMOTES WHOLENESS, V. 27 - "I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”
Self-controlled people, whether athletes or believers, are fully engaged in the race. They train the mind, the emotions and the body in order to compete at the highest level. I did not see any half-hearted competitors at the Olympics this Summer/
Do you daily surrender your mind, heart and body to God’s will?
PARTNERS WITH HOLY SPIRIT, Galatians 5:22
Self-control is one of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit once He is in control of your life!
D.L. Moody said, - "I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God's law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts. But if we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God. We must be emptied before we can be filled."
So, how is your self-control?
What are your goals?
How is your discipline?
Where is your focus?
Are you entirely engaged?
Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?