THE FRUIT OF SELF-CONTROL
1 Cor.10:12-13 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. NKJV
Someone interviewed many girls who had become pregnant before marriage. In all those cases, except in the case of rape, they all admitted they could have escaped the situation if they wanted to.No one is exempt from temptation. That’s why the Bible says let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. God desires for his children to develop the fruit of temperance so that they will have the strength to exercise self-control and thus overcome the flesh.
Self-control will help you overcome fornication. We have studied about that recently. But did you know that you obtain soul ties to the person you commit this sin with? Some people’s souls are tied and broken from so many previous relationships. Did you also know that the sin of adultery is connected to premature death? (See Proverbs 2:16, 5:3, 20, 7:6-27)Self-control will protect you from all that.
If you read 1 Cor.10, you’ll find that the children of Israel were overcome in four areas:
Idolatry, Fornication, Tempting Christ and Murmuring.God knows His children today are in danger of being overcome by the same things the children of Israel were overcome. So, 1 Cor. 10:6-12 tells us that these things were written as our examples so we do not lust, become idolaters, commit sexual immorality and tempt Christ. Did you know the degree of idolatry in a Christian’s life may be measured by the amount of time he or she devotes to coveting the pursuit of things other than the things of God? Jesus warned us about surfeiting which means to indulge in excess of anything. (Luke 21:34-35). People can overdo and so need to be temperate in the areas of sleep, entertainment, dressing, food, talking, and over-shopping.
Temperance also aids believers not to tempt Christ. The children of Israel tempted Christ by speaking against rightful authority. (Num. 21:5,6) They spoke against Moses, their God-ordained leader. They, like most people felt that they had a good reason to murmur. But nowhere in the Scriptures is it stated that unpleasant circumstances are an excuse for murmuring. Times of adversity are the very ones in which believers should control their tongues and stand their ground on the Word of God.
Gal. 5:15 shows that when we grumble, we’re actually consuming ourselves and others from the inside. Something is always lost when we murmur.
One of the works of the flesh listed in Gal. 5:19-21 is seditions. It is defined as “incitement orresistance to or insurrection against lawful authority.” The flesh resists submission to rightful authority, but temperance enables believers to live in harmony with God’s plan. Temperance aids families to conform to scriptural order in the home and thereby please God and live in peace. Romans 13 teaches us that governmental authorities are ordained and established by God. (See also 1 Peter 2:13, 14, 17.)
So, how can you develop in this vital fruit? One way is by controlling your tongue. James 3:2-4 shows us that the tongue has the capacity to bridle the whole body. To bridle is to curb or control. A vital principle of human nature and of the Christian faithis that what you speak controls a lot of what you do and what you become. Prov. 21:23 says:“if you guard your tongue, you guard your soul from troubles.”Other helpful guidelines for self-control are to guard your soul by guarding what you hear, see, think or touch.
Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and communicate with Him – acknowledge Him as being inside you often. He’s your helper and He’ll warn you of incoming temptation and teach you how to avoid or overcome it. As we studied last week, you can also develop in self-control by strengthening your inner man. Next time, we will look at more ways to develop your human spirit.