Post by The Husband
“Self-control” – This term seems to be an oxymoron. It would seem natural that one would be in control of oneself. I mean, if there is one “self”, then there must be only one will that controls anything, and if there is one will, then there must only be one will controlling, hence it’s a wonder why this term exists in the English language at all!
My computer dictionary tells me that self-control is an ability to “control one’s own actions”. The thesaurus suggests that terms like “discipline” and “self-mastery”, and “restraint” are similar words. Which begs the question, what on earth does it mean to master oneself or control oneself?
Certainly the western world in the 21st century does not emphasise much on self-control. The world encourages us all to give into all of our desires – have what we want and then want more than we have. There is little acknowledgement that a person’s will needs to be controlled at all,and in fact, the will is exalted as being powerful and god-like. If you will strong and long enough, you can get it. So why control the “self” at all?
The bible shed lights on this curious term, reminding us that the “self” is in fact evil in nature, not good, like some people think. If you ever want evidence of this, just see what happens to a child who is not given any guidance. The child becomes a little monster, and is “out of control”. Ah hah! So what exactly went “out of control” and what are they supposed to control…? The self.
So we must accept that the self, should be controlled. Romans 7 talks about how the flesh wars against the Spirit, wanting to do what we actually don’t want to do.
If the world is right… ie., the self is great and needs no particular control (unless of course it somehow impinges on other’s people’s “rights”), then why all this talk of “self-control”? The bible gives a clear answer to this question. The sinful self wants what is evil, while the Spirit in us (for those who have accepted Jesus as Lord) wants what is good.
Don’t let the world fool you into believing that there now exists no such thing as good and evil, your “self” must be controlled by the Spirit of God (Romans 8).