There was a fight about 13 years ago between two classmates of mine. It was the shortest fight I think I have ever witnessed. It ended with one blow. Not on the intended target but accidentally on the young man trying to separate them. The punch was strong enough to drop him. And signaled the end of the fight. We have never seen this classmate of ours this pissed off before, from that day henceforth, no one dared piss him off. We all knew better.
In dealing with Temperance or Self-control, sometimes we tend to think we are getting along just fine until a situation comes upon us, that places a demand for a certain kind of response. In those times do our real selves find expression?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Self-control really isn’t about how well you can control yourself oddly enough. I wager that there have been times when despite your best intentions and most sincere effort, nothing worked. It seemed as though you could not control your self. But could it be that in reality, it wasn’t that you didn’t try enough but rather that you couldn’t stop yourself from being yourself? At least not consistently, not honestly.
So what are we saying? For the believer, self-control is an expression of the work of the Holy Spirit in his human spirit, bringing about a change in the outworking of the believer such that the spirit becomes the new base of operations.
What I mean is that the Self is brought under spirit control. Thus true self-control is spirit control.
This is attained through the reckoning of death to self and the acceptance of the life-power of the Spirit as the driving force for living.
So whenever I hear people say things like ‘oh I didn’t want to show them my true colors‘. I am genuinely interested and intrigued especially if they are believers. Because usually, I have found that they mean something like: I’d have done something unrighteous or contrary to the scriptures, but I’m respecting and restraining myself, don’t push me.
Our true colors ought to be the colors of Christ as painted by the Holy Spirit. And I tend to think quietly that, that color which the Spirit paints is brilliant Red.
2 Peter 1:5-9
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
I know you’d want to say, well aren’t there are moralists with good self-control, and you’d have a point. However, the fact that the guys that attend your local gym are well-chiseled doesn’t for that fact make them Elite soldiers.
Whilst they might look comparable, at the root of the matter, trust me, they are worlds apart.
To be self-controlled comes from being subject to the rulership and leadership of the Holy Spirit. There is no other real way.