The Significance of Self-Control to Our Calling
As I meet with remarkable women who have a deep desire to step into their calling, we discuss the qualities we need to reflect in our quest to serve. Qualities found in Galatians 5:22-23 NIV, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
We also examine the qualities that hinder our progress, such as perfectionism and comparison – both of which will keep us from embracing our God-given calling.
This week let’s take a look at self-control, one of the traits Peter mentions in 2 Peter 1, where he emphasizes the believers’ responsibility to live faithfully according to their calling.
Faith’s Ladder of Virtue
“So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness, and to goodness add understanding, and to understanding add the strength of self-control, and to self-control add patient endurance, and to patient endurance add godliness, and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and to mercy toward others add unending love. Since these virtues are already planted deep within, and you possess them in abundant supply, they will keep you from being inactive or fruitless in your pursuit of knowing Jesus Christ more intimately.” 2 Peter 1:5-6 TPT
The Passion Translation of 2 Peter 1 is a favorite. I love how “strength of self-control” is listed in the qualities essential for believers. I have a practice of replacing words in scripture with synonyms to grasp the full impact of the verse…add the intensity of self-control, depth of self-control, and the power of self-control…these virtues are rooted in us, and we hold them in plentiful supply. This scripture confirms that we have all we need to overcome the temptations we face in life.
As we take a second look at the verses, we are urged to devote ourselves to goodness, understanding, restraint, patient endurance, godliness, mercy, and unending love. How many of these traits are you reflecting in your life?
What is Self-Control?
The Jesus Bible defines self-control as the ability to control one’s own actions and feelings.
Self-control is necessary for living a quality life and is vital for the spiritual growth of believers. I define self-control as when my “self” is out of control. This state of out of control can appear when I allow my selfish desires to influence my decisions.
Eve is an excellent example of a woman of God that did not exercise self-control when tempted by the serpent. Eve allowed her “want” to override her self-control, and we all know what came of this decision. Isn’t this how it always happens? We think, oh just this one time. It will be fine. No one is going to get hurt. This is precisely how temptation takes hold of us. The enemy convinces us that it will be okay because it is just this one time, one exception, one bite, which by the way, always fills our yearning for more.
When we allow our desires to drive our decisions, we become vulnerable to every temptation we encounter. And I believe our lack of self-control makes it easier for us to take the next bite as we convince ourselves that it’s just a small bite of that delicious red apple.
Life is full of temptations. Everywhere we look, there’s a message trying to influence us, so beware.
Eve had a choice. She could have restrained from taking a bite of the beautiful red apple. Eve knew better! She had the opportunity to speak words of truth to the serpent, but she didn’t. Eve allowed her wants, and the serpent, to influence her, so she chose to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve’s decision kept her from embracing all God had planned for her. That’s a big bite to swallow!
Living without Restraint
Do you see how a lack of self-control can keep us from our purpose in life?
Are you getting a glimpse of the significance of self-control? We all want to live out our purpose in life. We want to embrace our calling and step into all God has for us but are we willing to exercise self-control to pursue our purpose?
Are you ready to place God at the center of your life?
Are you willing to relinquish those selfish desires and self-centeredness that keep you stuck?
Do you want to say yes to living a life filled with virtuous fruit, the fruit of the Holy Spirit? If you genuinely wish to live a life in the fullness of Christ, you will need to lay down anything that produces bitter fruit. Because you cannot walk with God if you are living a me-centered life.
Proverbs 25:28 TPT states, “If you live without restraint and are unable to control your temper, you’re as helpless as a city with broken-down defenses, open to attack.”
A synonym for temper is attitude or character. We can read this verse as a woman who lives without restraint and unable to control her character is as helpless as a city with no defense. How do these words sound to you? If we seek God’s purpose for our life but live without restraint, how will we be fortified against the enemy as we live out our calling?
We live in a world filled with diluted values and morals. Messages are coming at us daily from many sources, and the noise is turned up. This noise creates chaos and distraction. If you’re not regularly seeking God and practicing self-control, how will you defend yourself against the temptations?
The Choice is Yours
Yet, you have a choice to resist the temptation by choosing to honor God with your lifestyle. Setting boundaries to protect your heart and mind while you practice restraint allows you to stand firm in your decision to follow Christ. I believe that when you possess the virtues in 2 Peter 1, you can fully trust that God will supply you with the strength and self-control you need to stand firm in your commitment to honor Him with your life. As a result, God will bless your faithfulness, and you’ll embrace the call on your life.
Are you ready to step into your calling? Take a moment and ask God to break down any barriers holding you back from taking the next steps in your journey. If you are struggling with the practice of self-control or believe you are in a situation where you are in need of spiritual guidance, please reach out. I am here for you and will pray with you throughout your journey.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope—never forget that. At that time, you will call out for Me, and I will hear. You will pray, and I will listen. You will look for Me intently, and you will find Me. Yes, I will be found by you,” says the Eternal, “and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations where you’ve been scattered—all the places where I have driven you. I will bring you back to the land that is your rightful home.” Jeremiah 29:11-14 CSB
Keep on Shining!