In reading through the letters of Paul and Peter, I continue to be surprised by his emphasis on one of the least glamorous aspects of the Christian life: self-control.
For example . . .
” … so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (I Corinthians 7:5)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
“[in the last days, people will be] without self-control.” (2 Timothy 3:3)
“and to knowledge [add] self-control.” (2 Peter 1:6)
It’s clear, then, that surrendering control of our more natural instincts — anger, lust, greed — to the power of God is at the heart of living the Christian life.
But let’s face it: that’s not a huge draw for Christianity. Most people are looking for less self-control, not more. It’s not like we’d put a banner in front of Good Shepherd declaring, “Enter Here And Discover Self-Control!”
Yet perhaps we should.
Think of all the problems we would avoid if self-control became characteristic of the way we live.
Which of us hasn’t lost control of our tongue — and gotten into trouble as a result?
Or lost control of our temper — and so hurt the ones we love the most?
Or lost control of sexual appetites — and the resulting relational trauma that goes along with it?
Or even lost control of drugs & alcohol — with the arrest record to prove it.
Biblical self-control, then, falls into that marvelous category of crisis prevention as opposed to crisis management.
Not very glamorous. But vitally important. Thanks, Peter. Thanks, Paul.