WEEK 5, DAY 33: SELF-CONTROL
Scripture Reference: Luke 17:1-10
“Where there is no vision; the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)
This is the verse most quoted at leadership conferences, secular and Christian. It’s a great thought, probably true, but it is not what the verse says. Literally the verse says: “Where there is no revelation; the people cast off restraint.” How it got to “where there is no vision; the people perish” I don’t know. You will need to board your time machine and go to the 17th century and ask good old King James.
A WORLD WITHOUT GRAVITY
Without self-control, accurately translated as intemperance, is the result of no revelation or direction from God. When you look at our nation, the further we get from God (revelation), the more we throw off constraint. There is no standard; thus, there are no rules. Morally speaking it is like living on earth without gravity. There is nothing to control or order our steps.
The word from which we get the translation “intemperate” and “without self-control” actually means without natural affections, without restraint, get this last word, inhuman. In other words, without the revelation of God, we have no self-control or restraints. We become like all the rest of the animals. It is our God-given ability to exercise self-control that separates us from the other animals.
Many “educated” scholars and professors are actually teaching that we have reached a superior place, as humans when we cast off restraint and become wild like animals.
Look at our world. Think of laws that are being passed, behavior that is becoming accepted. For years people have fought for their right to do whatever they want, with and to whomever or whatever they want, whenever they want. Now, it is becoming the “norm.” If you likened the spiritual condition of this nation to the physical earth you would see that we are losing gravity and there is no firm place to set our feet.
The DNA of a Child of God
We are the only creatures created in the image of God. Also we are the only ones that have been given the capacity to determine what is right and wrong. We have revelation from God that keeps our feet on the ground. We have revelation from God that keeps us from spiraling out of control. When we lose that, we have lost everything. So, that being said, I guess I have to apologize to King James. Because it is true: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Lord, be our vision again! Give us temperance. My mom used to say: “Temperance in all things!” Amen, Mom.
The word-translated temperance literally means: “the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions.” This self-control is not of this earth. It is divinely inspired, and it is from God. It is part of the character of God called the fruit of the Spirit given to us through our relationship with God. It’s in our spiritual DNA as children of God.
“We must have a spirit of power towards the enemy. A spirit of love towards others, and a spirit of self-control towards ourselves.” —Watchman Nee
—Kenneth Grizzell, Greenwood Park
TIME TO CONTEMPLATE:
- What passions do you have the most difficult time keeping under control?
- Why is self-control a part of the “fruit of the Spirit?” What would it look like for you to submit to the Spirit and let go of your desire to be in control?
Lord, forgive us for the times we’ve been like “beasts” controlled by our passion and desires, incapable of exercising restraint. Lord, as Your children, created in Your image, and filled with Your Spirit, we pray that we will choose to love others, control our passions and put others above ourselves today. Be our vision Lord and may Your Kingdom come through us and pour out into the lives of everyone we encounter today. Through the Name and the Authority of Jesus the Christ we pray. Amen.