Galatians 5: 22 and 23 state that self-control comes from love which is the fruit of the spirit. My definition of self-control is to do the right thing all the time. This is really too simple of a definition. Self-control is more about making a decision concerning a short term desire as it will effect a long term goal.
Let us say that our long term goal is to improve our spiritual walk and be able to inter heaven. We will then have the tools to apply this to other goals.
How did Jesus exhibit self-control?
From Luke 4 Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and led into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. 40 days is a long time to be tempted. (I have only had short period of fasting and my mind wonders and I have desires that I want met). At the end of those days Satan pulled out all the stops and gave the strongest temptation. Jesus had great self-control and rejected each temptation.
First Jesus had set his goal to do the father’s will – as stated in the temple at the age of twelve. This was his life long goal of which he never varied from.
Second he was filled with the Holy Spirit. There are two works of grace. When we come to Christ we ask that are sins be forgiven (repentance) and then we need the next act of grace to have the power of sin in our lives broken (sanctification). These two works of grace allows us to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Third we see that Jesus heard the distorted scriptures that Satan used and used the proper scripture to refute him.
Fourthly Jesus used self-control every day. Take the time when he met the Samaritan woman at the well. He was hungry and could have gone into town with his followers. He chose to do the father’s will by staying back to meat the woman.
By imitating Christ we need to be filled with his spirit and governed by his self-control.
Our next step will be to keep our goal before us. Are the things that we are doing helping us or hindering us from reaching our goal? Does our relationship with others aline with God’s word? Before answering this you might want to check out some of my other blogs and see if there are areas that need to be improve. I have a lot to improve in this area. Is there something in our lives that is hindering us from reaching our goal?
The development of self-control will take some time. We will need to learn the difference between the the voice of Christ, Satan, and our own desires. There are three witnesses for us to follow.
Prayer. We are told in scripture to be in constant prayer. In other words be in a mindset that you are able to talk to and listen to God at any moment of time.
Scripture. Get to know the written word of God, both the Old and New Testament. You will be better able to know what God wants from you and if it will aline with His will.
Godly servants. There are many Godly men and women that can give us great advice. There may be times when they do not know what God wants for you or God may be trying to give you a message through them.
May God bless you as you imitate Christ.