It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4
Knowledge gives you the power to live properly, but your spirit governs a prudent life that pleases God. The man, who limits his actions to doing good deeds, should suppress the instincts of the old man. The world is a good example of unrestrained society that lives from one crisis to the next. In its effort to bring about a peaceful society, the leaders of men form treaties and trade agreements to maintain order. These agreements dictate the rules that both parties agree to live by. For the Christian, a self-control life governed by our covenant with God, which sustains the Christian within the boundaries of godliness.
A personís inability to govern his own life is due to the lack of self-control.
Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. Proverbs 25:28
The person without self-control will never be satisfied with what he or she has. Everyone has a foundation from which he can make decisions. Either their foundation is one of reason based on truth or it is based on basic desires. Without self-control he will see one failure after other and eventually lose his friends because he has no gumption or fortitude. Unlike the city with broken and fallen walls, Godís word will stand forever. Not the least stroke of the pen shall fail to come to pass before the return of Christ. The truth of Godís word is solid as a rock to stand on and a sure foundation to live by.
Every Christian should adopt Godís word as his or her personal body of laws that they govern their life by. Fits of rage are a demonstration of wrath and intimidating to those who bear the blunt of the anger. Raising your voice makes everyone in the room want to hunker down or find another place to hide. God demands that his children put away all malice and control their anger. Asserting your authority is better done through perseverance insisting things are done in a certain fashion. Raising your voice to assert your authority is not honoring one another above yourselves. When you lose control of yourself you are allowing the circumstances, your feelings and other things control your actions. God wants you to be in control of your life.
Godís word reflects his character that gave his children promises so they could participate in his divine nature. Adding self-control to your knowledge is taking Godís word to heart with the outcome of stabilizing your walk with God. Stability in your life is crucial and creates the ability to prosper. At the same time self-control is the characteristic that controls your courage to do anything for the first time. Stability is the characteristic we see in Jesus Christ who is the same today yesterday and tomorrow.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
Shadows shift as the sun crosses the sky, but God does not change because he is firmly committed to live a moral and holy life. He lives his life with a plan before his eyes and has a goal for a brighter tomorrow. Because he wants to sustain a holy life his plan demands that he exhibit a precise behavior to accomplish his goals. Like the Son God the Father does not change.
God wants his children to display evidence of his or her desire to share in Godís holiness. Our desire to be like God demands that our lives develop the same self-discipline that God used to develop his life. The outcome of holiness is the demand to overcome evil with good deeds. Sustaining your morals demonstrates that if anyone harms those you associate with, it wonít be anything you have done. Godís children are limited by rules of conduct known as the Ten Commandments, which take into consideration how you would want to be treated. Letís not forget that the golden rule applies to stabilize the affect we have on other people. God wants his children to live a holy life and obeying the Ten Commandments tells you how to treat other people.
Letís face the truth, living a holy life is hard to do when those in the world demonstrate that evil deeds accomplish the same things and appears to get done with less effort. You have to face another truth before you go any further. You are not Satanís children, who couldnít care less if you obey Godís laws. Instead you are the child of God who demands that you obey his standards of conduct. God knows that if you climb a tree you may fall and be injured, but if you sin, you become slaves of sin and the life you have will be taken from you and destroyed.
Learning to obey God in everything develops the characteristics that demand self-control. The limitations the Ten Commandments defines what love is and how to love others in ways demonstrate respect for other people. The whole of Godís law represents the disposition of love and the holiness of God himself. They also represent personal demands of conduct by a father such as wash behind the ears and donít talk with your mouth full of food.
The greatest commandment was to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. The Ten Commandments and the greatest commandment though they are worded differently agree in nature that you are to love God first and them those you associate with. If you love God and obey him you will find a way to love your fellow man. A healthy respect for Godís laws helps you to consider the feelings of those your decision affects. Loving God and your neighbor sees the need to demonstrate the kind of respect and honor you yourself want from other people.
Obedience to God is an act of your love that restrains what the old man would prefer to do. It also means you would deny your personal desire for vengeance and repress the old man who rules by instinct rather than by reason. When you obey God you add to your knowledge of what pleases God by controlling your actions in accordance with Godís word.
If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." Genesis 4:7
Crouching is the position you see the hundred-yard dasher in just before the shot is fired. When the runner is ready to go into action he drops to that position to give the added initial thrust he needs. God said to Cain, Sin is always crouching at your door and ready to overturn your life. What we donít understand that you fire the starting shot when you let your guard down. Therefore, you must also be vigilant and ready to master the desire to sin so you may overcome the momentum sin has for you. Paul spoke about this issue in this manner.
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:14-15
Paul saw the nature of sin at work in his mind even when he wanted to serve God wholeheartedly. The life God desires you to live is voluntary whereas Satan loves to lure you into sin by any means necessary. Our minds suddenly become the battlefield where deceit and truth fight for control of your mind. In making decisions you must sort through the truth and other suggested facts represented as truth. Paul wrote about this issue.
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. Romans 8:5
The sinful nature is focused on who you in a world where you are the only person of importance. The sinful nature serves the personal luxury and comfort of your life and seldom considers the needs of others. Your old man lives by instinct, by what feels good and as long as you donít get hurt, itís okay. Sin steals, kills, and destroys your personal character and then makes you a slave of your sins because you are frighten that the evil deeds youíve done will come back to haunt you. Sin will work for you until you have to pay the piper for it is written.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Living in the Spirit depends on what your mind is focused on.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1-2
Those who want earthly things are focused on the things below and are never satisfied. They seek the things they think will make their life easier and more enjoyable. True life comes from God and those who seek the things above find an unspeakable joy and gladness in the spirit.
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. John 6:63
Man does not live on what the earth produces, but on the words that comes from God the creator of the heavens and the earth. God gave man a gift of his spirit and a mind capable of making decisions independently from outside influence. In other words you are allowed the right to choose your own course of action by your free will. However, your course of action has to be exercised with restraint and confined to what is fair to everyone concerned. God wants you to exercise your decisions with self-control because everything that crosses your path is not beneficial to your life. Godís influence helps you to exercise restraint over your passions, desires and the things that rob you of the time you need to spend with God.
God will not force you to worship his person, his authority, or his position because he is a Supreme Being. God wants you to love him as a loving father that begins with listening to his plan to reconcile you to him. After hearing his plan you have a choice to enter into a deeper relationship or go about your own business. God is seeking a deeper relationship with his children and desires that you want to work out your salvation with him. From this point onward, you commit your life to build a relationship with God. All of, which requires a self-governed mind and determination to become, like Christ.
Your heavenly father is willing to adopt you as his child today but you must make and keep a commitment to him. The moment you give your life to God he will start to discipline you as the child he loves by training you in the way you should go, (Proverbs 22:6). Your desire to be his child should begin by training yourself in Godís ways by spending time in the Holy Scriptures.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Just as the athlete trains his body to perform in a precise way, you too have to train your mind to think in a godly manner. Before doing anything you need to consider the outcome of your decisions. Paul instructed Timothy (1 Timothy 4:7-10) to have nothing with traditional stories handed down by wives or concocted beliefs from other fanatics, but to rely on Godís word for training in godliness. Paul went on to say, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture reading to preaching and to teaching the word. Paul instructed Timothy to root and ground his congregation into the word of God, because myths and fables create controversies, but to develop a disciplined life in the Lord through his word. There is no better way to know what your father wants of you than to find out directly from him.
Therefore, it becomes important to control ones emotions such as anger, getting rid of evil thoughts and having malice towards others. Self-control strengthens the character of the child of God and allows him to make sound decisions that are both practical and productive to his or her life. The outcome of reading and taking Godís word to heart leads to the knowledge you need for prudent behavior. Prudent behavior comes from using sound knowledge that strengthens your actions with good deeds, which in turn allows you to thrive in Godís sight.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:19-26
Paul gave us a picture to compare of the uncontrolled person and the person who is self-controlled in the passage above. Laws were enacted to prevent people from corrupting the relationships of people within the society they live. Those who break the law eventually come into conflict with those who enforce the laws of the land. Those who live by the law live in peace with the understanding that there is a punishment for breaking the law. Paul writes that there is no law against living according to the law. The law has purpose and by living within the law of God we can keep in step with God and enjoy the life to come.