Break Satan's Control Factor: Gain Self-Control
by Charlotte Barton
Self-control is a very difficult thing to do. This fleshly body naturally wants to do the opposite of what God would want it to do. We are born into a world that is full of sin. Satan tries to make sin look really good and okay to indulge in. He finds our weak areas in our lives, steps through that crack, and gains control in that weak area. By Satan gaining control in that one area often allows him to gain control in other areas of our lives. In other words, he desires that we lose self-control in certain areas to give him control to influence us in others.
This loss of self-control does not just occur in the unsaved or lukewarm Christians. Satan really targets dedicated Christians too in-order to drag them down spiritually and hinder their walk with Christ and their witness or ministry for God. As a Christian God expects us to use self-control. The Bible says in Galatians 5:22-23,
“22)But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,
23Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].” (Amplified version)
A Tree Bearing Fruit
A fruit tree will bear good fruit if it is taken care of, watered, and pruned. If not prevented, disease can set in and cause bad fruit to be produced. We are a spiritual tree. If we do not take care of ourselves, spiritual disease can take over and we will produce bad spiritual fruit. Self-control is just one out of nine very important fruits that should be present in our lives.
When self-control is not present in our life it is as if we are open for the enemy to attack openly. Proverbs 25:28 says,
“He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls.” (Amplified version)
Because of being born of the flesh in the world, our flesh and spirit naturally wants to do the opposite of what it should do. But we must take control of our whole self. We must bring our body (body, soul, and spirit) under control and under the submission of the Holy Spirit.
When God directed me to write this teaching article I was fine with it at first, until upon researching all that it involved. I realized how some areas that God was dealing with me about actually had to do with self-control. It is something that we all need to work on. Everyone's areas of self-control may be different, but they are all areas that must be dealt with. God is bringing these “self-control issues” to the surface to be scraped off and thrown away.
It seemed that many of the scriptures that God brought me to had to do with impatience in some way. We even get impatient going through a fast-food drive-thru or waiting for something to cook in the microwave! We tend to be impatient in many areas of our lives, including spiritually and with things we are praying about.
Luke 21:19 says, “By your steadfastness and patient endurance you shall win the true life of your souls.” (Amplified version)
An online dictionary ( http://www.thefreedictionary.com/steadfast) says that “steadfast” means:
If we are not patient we will not be steadfast. If we are not steadfast, we will not be patient. When we are spiritually steadfast, we know in whom we trust and who we serve. Therefore, we can have true life, a truly set free life, not getting impatient with God's process or timing, but resting assured, standing steadfast knowing He is in control.
The next portion of scripture, Colossians 3:12-14, involves a lot for instructions for living a Christian life. Much could be taught and emphasized within it. Self-control has to do with all of these instructions from God.
“12Clothe yourselves therefore, as God's own chosen
ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and
well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by]
tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of
yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and
long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good
13Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].
14And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].” (Amplified version)
Just Put it on and Wear It!
But first look at what the first two words of it: “Clothe yourselves”. All of these elements of self-control has to be put into action with our own effort. God will not make us do them. We have to “put them on”. Nice clothes hanging in a closet will not benefit us in any way, until we actually put them on. Personal action must be implemented, and involves self-control to carry through with them. As a Christian we are God's chosen vessel, picked representatives of His character, of His Kingdom for His glory, instructed to clothe ourselves with His character and behavior.
Look at the following points regarding self-control in relation to the previous portion of scriptures:
The next point of self-control many have a difficult time with. God instructs us through Ecclesiastes 7:9,
“Do not be quick in spirit to be angry or vexed, for anger and vexation lodge in the bosom of fools.” (Amplified version)
Hold on to the Handle!
Many of us tend to "fly off the handle" quickly in the instant someone ticks us off. We show ungodly, unchristian-like anger. Anger against Satan and sin is acceptable and expected, but the other type of anger that is not Christian-like is not acceptable in God's sight.
The word "vex" according to an online dictionary (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/vex) states that it means,
1. To annoy, as with petty importunities; bother. See Synonyms at annoy.
2. To cause perplexity in; puzzle.
3. To bring distress or suffering to; plague or afflict.
4. To debate or discuss (a question, for example) at length.
5. To toss about or shake up.
We are not to even allow ourselves to be annoyed! How many people or situations in your life really annoy you? We could probably think of several instantly. But God commands us, not asks us, to not let those petty things in our lives annoy us. He says, "Do not..." That is a straight-forward command. We are to use the self-control that the Holy Spirit has taught us to use to control all tendencies to be angry or vexed.
Don't Let It Get Stuck!
Why is it so important to exercise self-control against being angry and vexed? It is because the littlest amount will become lodged in our bosom, in the deepest part of our spirits. When something gets lodged it is very difficult to get it dislodged. It will take much force to shake, pull, or push it loose. When we let anger rise up within us or an annoyed feeling take root, it lodges very deep making it difficult to break it loose. But with God's help, it can be broken loose.
Another self-control area that we, in today's society, have difficulty with is being quick to buy things before making wise decisions. Proverbs 31:16, says,
"16She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard."
This portion of scripture provides a very wise instruction. When we get an urge to buy or in the situation that we need to buy something we should use self-control to weigh our choices to make the right decision. And also when a particular duty has been placed in our lap or placed before us, we should use self-control and make sure that is what we are to do before jumping right in quickly to take on the new duties. By using self-control in these areas we will save much money, time, and strength. And with doing that we will plant fruitful vines. It will become fruitful and productive for ourselves and for the Kingdom of God.
God desires us to be a vessel that is keeping His temple under control for His glory. Exercising the "spiritual muscle" of self-control in our life not only increases our maturity in Christ and benefits ourselves spiritually, but also benefits others who we come in contact with. We are not to be a stumbling block to our brothers and sisters in Christ or to the unbelievers. We do not want the unsaved person to say, "Well, look how she talks about others. Look how she acts so angry often. If that is how a Christian acts, I do not want any part of being a Christian."
Friend, we have got to submit and obey God's commands by using self-control in all areas of our lives. As we draw near to God, walking in devoted relationship with Jesus Christ, and making a conscious effort to gain the victory, this area of self-control will be strengthened as we lean on Him for strength and help.