WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 4, 2023
TOPIC: EXERCISE SELF-CONTROL
BY T. O. BANSO
“A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls” (Proverbs 25:28 New Living Translation).
Self-control is an essential requirement for a successful Christian life. Also, without self-control, nobody can achieve enduring success in life. A lack of self-control is destructive to the person who lacks it and to others whom he has relationships with. Self-control is “Physical and emotional self-mastery, particularly in situations of intense provocation or temptation” (Dictionary of Bible Themes).
Self-control is so important that it is listed as part of the fruit of the Spirit in the Bible. The Holy Spirit produces it in the life of a child of God as he cooperates with Him. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23 New King James Version). A Christian needs to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to bear the fruit of self-control in his life. He also needs to exercise self-control.
How much self-control do you exercise in your relationships with others? Proverbs 25:28 says, “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls” (New Living Translation). The New King James Version puts it thus: “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” From this translation, one could say that to exercise self-control means to have rule over one’s spirit. The lack of such a rule is akin to a city broken down, without walls. Such a city is defenceless and is at the mercy of the enemies. Proverbs 16:32 says, “Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city” (New Living Translation).
A lack of self-control is the lack of ability to control one’s impulses, emotions, and behaviour. Such a person doesn’t have set boundaries or doesn’t keep them. He behaves wrongly. Such a lack of self-control often attracts people’s criticism and condemnation. It sometimes attracts sanctions. Beyond that, self-control, as I have said, is destructive. The consequence of a lack of self-control could be huge. It could result in the loss of lives.
Examples of a lack of self-control in the Bible include the eating of the forbidden fruit by Adam and Eve (Genesis 3), the killing of Abel by his brother, Cain (Genesis 4:3-16), Esau’s selling of his birthright (Genesis 25:29-34), Reuben’s sexual relations with Bilhah, the concubine of Jacob, his father, defiling his bed (Genesis 35:22; 49:3-4), the impatience of Saul and offering of a burnt sacrifice to God (1 Samuel 13:7-14; 10:8), and David’s adultery with Bathsheba and the subsequent killing of her husband, Uriah (2 Samuel 11). There are other examples. All these examples had grave consequences.
As a child of God, cultivate self-control with the help of the Holy Spirit and exercise it. Without self-control, you cannot fulfil your destiny. You need self-control. It is one of the things the Apostle Peter said a Christian must add to his faith. “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness” (2 Peter 1:5-6 New King James Version).
Exercise self-control. The Apostle Paul talked about self-control while talking about sexual relations in a marriage. He said in 1 Corinthians 7:5-6, “Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (New Living Translation). A lack of self-control can make one give in to Satan’s temptation.
Exercise self-control. One of the features of the last days is the lack of self-control. “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good” (2 Timothy 3:1-3 New King James Version). Note the phrase “without self-control.”
Exercise self-control in your actions, including the use of your tongue. Proverbs 13:3 says, “Self-control means controlling the tongue! A quick retort can ruin everything” (The Living Bible). The control of your tongue is one major area of self-control as the Bible shows in James 3:2-12. Verse 6 says, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell” (New King James Version). Control your tongue to control yourself. James 1:26 says those who claim to be religious but lack control of their tongues deceive themselves.
Many people lose self-control because of provocation. They lose their temper and say what they are not supposed to say only to regret it. People may provoke you but control yourself in the way you react. Don’t scatter what you have gathered by not controlling your tongue. Don’t destroy your marriage, family, friendship, or other relationships because of a lack of self-control in the use of your tongue.
James 1:19-20 says, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (New King James Version). This is self-control in action. Provocation is no excuse for losing self-control by speaking the wrong words or taking the wrong actions. Exercise self-control. Don’t speak before you think; think before you speak. Consider the consequences of your speech. “There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking” (Proverbs 29:20 New Living Translation).
If you speak in anger, you will regret what you say. “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6 New King James Version). Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit if you want to enjoy life and see many happy days or good days (1 Peter 3:10). “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction” (Proverbs 13:3 New King James Version).
Exercise self-control. Don’t be quick-tempered. “A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of wicked intentions is hated” (Proverbs 14:17 New King James Version). Let the Word of God guide your actions and yield the control of your life to the Holy Spirit. Wise people exercise self-control. Be wise.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to exercise self-control in all my activities, including my speech. My actions will be guided by the Word of God, and I will yield control of my life to the Holy Spirit. I shall not be quick-tempered or be provoked to act foolishly. I shall rule over my spirit in Jesus’ name.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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