Good morning to you my precious friends

1 Peter 1:13-15 says, “Think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the special blessings that will come to you at the return of Jesus Christ…Don’t slip back into your old ways of doing evil…Now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God—who chose you to be His children—is holy.”

Peter knew how easily we can be distracted, wasting time and energy in pursuit of the wrong goals. Because of this concern, he wrote about the significance of thinking clearly and exercising self-control. This was particularly important as he thought about “the return of Jesus Christ.” Without self-control, we can “slip back” into bad habits and “old ways.”

Most people, then and now, find it hard to exercise self-control.

The verse makes it clear that God wants us to “think clearly and exercise self-control.” This means living according to His principles and making His Word our foundation. This also means surrendering to Him and remembering that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). We need the power of the Holy Spirit to have real self-control. Self-control, is one of the most important fruits to possess.

Self-control helps us to resist temptation and avoid conforming to the things of this world. It guides our decisions, and it agrees with how we show the other fruits in our lives.

Proverbs 14:29 says, “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” Our sinful nature leads us to give into our temper, but we are called to rise above this and show patience.

Displaying self-control is often a matter of responding rather than reacting. When we react to a situation, we let our emotions take control. We are more likely to become defensive and say hurtful things. Responding, however, involves developing a thoughtful response that is guided by reason more than emotions.

As Christians, our responses to situations are to be guided by the fruit of the Spirit.

Our Lord Jesus gives us the perfect example of self-control, because He lived a sinless life and possessed every fruit of the Spirit. He demonstrated self-control because He was sent to earth to carry out the Father’s will. He was to live a perfect life in order to set an example for us, and in the end, He died for our sins so that we may have eternal life. Jesus knew what He was sent to Earth to do, and despite His own fears, He demonstrated self-control in submitting to the Father’s perfect plan. Without the self-control of Jesus, we would face death as the punishment of our sin.

Next time you are in a tough situation, remember Jesus and the perfect example He gave us of how to live. While it may seem challenging to demonstrate self-control, the rewards will be great.

2 Peter 1:3 says "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness."      God has given us everything we need for a godly life. We need to know that self-control isn’t something we have to muster up on our own.

2 Peter 1:5-9 says “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is near-sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”

God has made His power available to us and has given us everything we need for a life of holiness, that means we can have self-control as Christians. It’s not an impossible task.

We see from this passage that self-control is part of a chain of qualities that we should have in our lives and should grow in. That’s what Peter means when he speaks of possessing those “qualities in increasing measure.” We should take heart in realizing that all of us experience this process of growth. None of us have finally arrived. We’re all on the same journey together as we grow in these qualities, including self-control!

Finally, notice that self-control is one of those qualities in our lives that keeps us from being ineffective and unproductive as Christians.

We can do this by:

Step 1: Praying for God to show you gaps in your spiritual life where self-control is needed.
Step 2: Look to Scripture or people in your life who live a life of self-control. Consider godly Christians throughout history who have lived extraordinary lives of self-control. Ask yourself: what made them different? What kinds of habits did they include in their lives?  
Step 3: Develop an action plan to help you overcome those areas where you need to have self-control. Be as specific as possible.
Step 4: Find people who will hold you accountable. Look for people who are going to be tough and who will help you stick to your action plan.
Step 5: Ask God daily to help you have self-control in those areas stated in your action plan.

Let us pray:

Dear Lord, I don’t want to be caught making the statement, “I could never give up that!” Instead, I want to believe that self-control is possible because of Your strength. I want each of my decisions today to be made from a heart full of confidence and peace in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Much love from Maurice and Margaret