What do discipline, commitment, responsibility, achievement, success and sustainability all have in common? Two words: Self Control. Self Control is restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires. Every man has to exercise self-control at some point in his life. He has to exercise self-control of his mind, body, words and actions. Self Control or temperance is a fruit of the spirit. “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.” (Galatians 5:22-23). Is self-control possible? Yes it is, but it is a choice an individual has to make and a behavior that they constantly have to be conscious of.
Usually self-control is practiced in expectance of a reward. If you sacrifice your time by studying hard, you will get good grades in school or if you train hard in basketball practice, you will win games. Hard work pays off usually. However, in order to endure for the reward you have to practice self-control by disciplining yourself to face the rigors and challenges that will help you reach your reward. Self-control is evidence of faith in our lives. If we trust and believe for those things that are unseen we exercise our faith and don’t take our eyes off the prize no matter what we may face. 1 Thessalonians 5:6 states, “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.”
Every action has a consequence. There are countless examples in which self-control is practiced and self-control is not practiced. For example, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and disobeyed God. (Genesis 3:17-19). They did not practice self-control and because of their actions, man and woman to this day suffer those consequences. An example of someone practicing self-control was Jesus in the wilderness and Satan tested Jesus three times and Jesus resisted the temptations (Matthew 4:1-11). I’m sure you can think of instances in which you practiced self-control and other instances when you did not. There may also be instances you’ve observed in your family or community or even on the news where people succumbed to various things because of lack of self-control.
Galatians 5:19–21 (MSG) sums it up very candidly “It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom. “
Y.O.L.O. (You Only Live Once) is a popular motto. Remember that you are already living in eternity with God if you have accepted him as your Lord and Savior. He is here
right now. You don’t have to wait till death to experience his death. You can experience his glory right here and now and one way to do that is to practice self-control. It pleases him.
Self-control helps us all to overcome sinful and destructive habits, focus on and walk into the destiny that God has for us and build up the body of Christ. It affects our lives in a positive and productive way and effects, your family, neighborhood, church, job and relationships. It is a necessity to truly experiencing the fullness of our potential and the fullness of God. It’s a charge and a responsibility. We have to man up and keep our eyes on the prize and God will bless our faithfulness in ways we can’t even fathom. Can you do it? Yes you can.
Kaize Adams, Ph.D. is a singer/songwriter from Columbia, SC, who now resides in Greensboro, NC. He holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University and is also a recording artist on Durney Boy Records. His current project is entitled "Testimony" and he recently released a new single entitled "Glory." For more information on Dr. Adams, please visit www.kaizeadams.com.