Saturday, June 12, 2010

Self-Control, a building block above faith

2 Peter 1:6a says "to knowledge, self-control..."

As we continue look at the list of characteristics that Peter emphasizes that must be added to the foundation of faith, we quickly realize that the process of sanctification is becoming evident. The life of the Christian must always be growing and maturing and this involves self-control.

Do we have issues with self-control in today's society? Absolutely! We find it difficult to keep ourselves from getting seconds or thirds at the dinner table. We have difficulty putting down the remote control when we know that we would be better off spending the time in the study of God's Word. We find it difficult not to say what is on our mind when someone rubs us the wrong way. In general, we struggle with self-control.

In the Hellenistic world of Peter's day the idea of self-control is related to athletics. When an athlete would begin to prepare for competition, he would become very disciplined and exercise great self-control. He would obstain from certain foods and drink. He would carve out long periods of his day preparing and training for the events that were before him. He would make sure his actions before the days of competition would not disqualify him from competiton or tarnish his reputation (too bad today's athletes don't do this). Self-control was serious for the one who was preparing for competition.

The apostle Paul compared the Christian life to a race. In 1 Corinthians 9:25 he said: And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

Our journey of spiritual growth requires self-control. Like the athlete who carves out great amounts of time each day for training, we also need to focus our day on the Lord. Like the athlete who obstains from certain food and drink, we too need to be careful what we take into our minds and hearts. Like the athlete who watches his actions, we too need to be careful what we do and where we go as not to destroy our witness or fall to temptation. The careful thought and control of our actions is part of maturing in the faith.

In your life what will it take to be self-controlled?

In Christ,
Doug Johnson

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