Self is defined by Merriam-webster.com as the union of elements (as body, emotions, thoughts, and sensations) that constitute the individuality and identity of a person. Self control is controlling one’s body, emotions, thoughts and sensations. It is one of the toughest things to do on earth. Paul told us not to conform ourselves to this world. We can only do that by controlling the self.
Controlling oneself requires the person’s conscious effort and the Grace of God. 1 Thess 4:4 tells us that each of us should learn to control his or her own body in a way that is holy and honorable not in passionate lust like the heathen. We need the grace of God plus our effort. Hebrews 12:1 says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”
But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money…without self control…” 2 Timothy 3:1-4.
We are living in a world where people find it hard to control themselves. It is no surprising because it is a bible prophecy. It is also a sign that we are living in the last days. Therefore, Paul said that “I beat my body and make it my slave…” knowing that if he doesn’t control the body, the body will control him (which will make it difficult for him to serve the Lord). Many people, including Christians are in jail and have suffered shame because they couldn’t control themselves.
Self control is a fruit of the Spirit. As Christians, God expects us to walk in the Spirit so that we don’t fulfill the desires of the flesh. When a person lives after the desires of the flesh, that person can’t please God. Christians today allow their flesh to dictate for them. The body tells them what to do, how to do it and when to do it. We always want to be the first to hear the news, get the latest phone, car, house, cloth, laptop, etc without taking time to feed the spirit. Self control is a fruit that must be cultivated by every child of God. Your father is always happy when he sees you can control situations, and when you control the self.
Temptation and self-control
Satan knows that once we are able to control ourselves, nothing can come between us and God. Thus he works in ways to get us trapped in certain situations we can’t control. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. The bible refers to him as a thief. A thief can come to your house when there a chance for him; when you leave your door or window open, when security isn’t tight, etc. Satan will always attack you in the areas you find it hard to control. If you don’t drink, Satan will never use drink to tempt you. He will use something that easily entangles you. I believe you have heard people made comments like “I don’t know, I just found myself in this habit” “this behavior is part of me” “I am an addict” “Anytime I see chocolate, I am out of control” “that boy or girl…anytime I see him or her…” they make such statements as a result of their inability to control their bodies, emotions, thoughts and sensations.
A man without self-control is like a city whose walls are broken down. The enemy can attack at anytime because such person is defenseless. I have heard stories of renowned men of God who were defenseless when the enemy attacked.
Prayer and self-control
“a week without prayer makes a Christian weak.”
In these last days, prayer, among other things, is what can keep us awake as we wait for Jesus. Without self-control, we can’t pray. The scripture tells us in 1 Peter 4:7 that “the end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.” Let us not be like other who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.
I believe Jesus is coming soon in a way and at hour we don’t expect. Jesus said there will be (weeping and gnashing…) because many people will toil in vain. We must deny the “self”, take up the cross and follow the Master’ steps. Learn how to sacrifice today’s desires for tomorrow’s reward. God bless you