BLOCKS OF CHARACTER: SELF-CONTROL"
preached by David P. Nolte
2 PETER 1:5-11
After the Civil War a fellow called "The Old Colonel" lived in
Charleston, S.C. He was widely
recognized for his ability to exercise authority and control. Those
under his command delighted in
instantly obeying his orders. His downfall, however, was that he became
a hard drinker. One day
a fight broke out in a local saloon and was getting beyond the ability
of the authorities to control it. Someone said, "Send for The Old
Colonel!" Search was made for him and he was found in another
saloon. He was apprized of the situation so he mounted his steed and
rode to the scene of the riot. He rode into the mob and began giving
orders. The rioters began to disperse and one by one they
obeyed his commands. With quiet restored, the Old Colonel rode back to
resume his drunkenness. He was an eminent success in controlling
others, but a dismal failure in controlling himself! Today
we are instructed to add to diligence and faith and moral excellence
and knowledge the building block
of self-control! The Greek word translated, "self-control," means
"strength, mastery, or temperance." One of the greatest things you'll
ever learn or acquire is the practice of self-control. Let's pursue
- CONSIDER WHAT
SELF-CONTROL IS NOT!
- We often think of self-control as a heavy, oppressive, negative
thing. Some say
- That if you are self-controlled you are a wet-blanket, a
kill-joy, a party-pooper, reigned in, bound up and restricted!
- That if you are self-controlled you must be Puritanical! H.L.
that a Puritan is "Someone who has the haunting fear that someone,
somewhere is having fun!"
- That if you are self-controlled you have to be Pharasaic: you
know, like those
guys who followed Jesus around accusing His disciples of all sorts of
self-control for not washing their hands before eating, for gathering
eat on the Sabbath, and for consorting with sinners.
- Many whine saying, "Oh, Christianity! It's just limitations and
restrictions. It reins
us in and doesn't allow us to enjoy life! It forbids doing anything
joyous or fun or
enjoyable." That is not self-control at all.
- You see, self-control is not merely:
- Asceticism. That is, austere, harsh self-denial, infliction
of abuse and harm to
our bodies to keep them under control! Like the ascetics who, to keep
bodies under control did silly things like sitting in a pond full of
sitting on top of a column for days without letting their bodies find
- Stoicism, or severe squelching of all desire, feeling, and
wants until all
appetites are eliminated and we are unaffected by pleasure or pain.
- Legalism which is merely outward observance of rules,
external behavior norms to control our selves.
- Negativism which is wearing a lemon-puss countenance like
swallowed your Lysterine, finding what is joyous, happy and positive
refusing to participate to deny ourselves and keep self under control.
- Self-control is not keeping ourselves so reined in that we are
paralyzed. It is not
denying ourselves any worthy joy or pleasure. Self-control is not
failure to act or to
be passive. During the early days of aviation, a stunt pilot was
selling rides in his
airplane. He got into an argument with a stingy old man who insisted
upon taking his
wife along on the ride - at no extra charge. "Look," said the pilot
finally, "I'll take
you both up for the price of one if you promise not to utter a sound
entire trip. If you make a sound, the price is doubled." The deal was
made and they
all took off. The pilot then proceeded to put the aircraft through
to make the bravest tremble. But not a sound came from the back, where
passengers sat. Finally, he landed the plane. As the old man climbed
out, the pilot
said, "I made moves up there that frightened even me, and yet you never
said a word. You're a fearless man." "Thank you," said the old man.
"But I must admit that there
was one time when ya almost had me." "And when was that?" asked the
man replied, "That was about the time my wife fell out!" He held his
tongue, but that
was not self-control.
- CONSIDER WHAT SELF-CONTROL IS!
- Mastering our desires, attitudes and actions, not being
controlled by them! This takes
the joint effort of:
- The human will: we choose to obey God's word!
- The Holy Spirit Who enables and instructs and urges us!
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will
not carry out the desire of the flesh."
5:23 (NASB) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control."
- Self-control is like
- A bit in a horse's mouth keeping the steed under control.
- A rudder on a ship keeping the vessel on course.
- The brakes on a car bringing it to a stop when needed.
- A stove holding in the fire warming the house without burning
- A dam holding back the water keeping it from flooding the
- A governor on an engine preventing the engine from going too
- Self-control involves:
- The ability to say "No!" to ourselves and mean it!
- Being a self stopper saying, "I will not do this or that!"
- This is strong "Won't power!"
- The ability to say "Yes!" to ourselves and mean it!
- Being a self starter saying, "I will do this or that!"
- This is strong "Will power!"
- Consider some examples, pro and con:
- Some who did not exercise self-control:
- Esau who allowed hunger to control him and so he sold his
for a bowl of soup!
- David who didn't say no to his lust for Bathsheba!
- Solomon who married many pagan women and allowed a desire
please them to control him, so he had his heart turned from God!
- Others who exercised real self-control:
- Joseph who said "No!" to the woman who wanted to seduce him!
- Stephen who preached Christ though in the end he was stoned
- Paul, who said, "Remember that in a race everyone runs, but
person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will
win. All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a
that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run
to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who
misses his punches. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it
do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I
myself might be disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT).
- Bill, a soldier who had been the terror of his company. He
punch a fellow out for the slightest pretext. But Bill became a
Christian and people noticed a difference. He never punched anyone
any more. He treated people with respect. One man, who had
suffered his wrath, thinking Bill had grown soft, decided to get even.
In the mess hall, he walked by Bill and spilled a bowl of hot soup on
him. Bill jumped up by reflex. Everyone thought that the other fellow
was going to meet his maker. But Bill said, "Once I would have
beaten the daylights out of you for that. But Christ helps me forgive
you." That's self-control. That's what we all ought to learn - and
until we learn it, we don't know the "a.b.c's" of Christian character.
Solomon said, "It is better to be patient than powerful; it is
better to have self-control than to conquer
a city." Proverbs
16:32 (NLT). And, "A person without self-control is as
defenseless as a city with
broken-down walls." Proverbs 25:28
(NLT). And "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise
man keeps himself under control." Proverbs 29:11
(NIV). God demands self-control! Perhaps you
have failed at that point time and again. Perhaps your appetites,
temper, emotions have ruled the day
-- today is a new day! Today can be a new beginning where you put
Christ in control. If Christ is
not in control of your life, something or somebody else is. Romans 13:14
(NLT) says, "But let the
Lord Jesus Christ take control of you, and don't think of ways to
indulge your evil desires." It is
impossible to have Godly self-control until Christ is in control! He
controls that life where He is
Lord! That's the goal of our invitation today -- put Christ in charge
so our lives empowered by the
Holy Spirit can manifest Godly self-control. Have you done that? If it
is your choice today to
consecrate your life to Christ, do it while we are singing!
Wife and airplane from internet source;
Bill story from Knight
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