Yeshua [Jesus] is our model for self-control. In His suffering He clearly showed it. He could have called down the army of Angels to take care of everything. He did not. It did not even cross His mind.
God’s goal: God wants us to be in control of our own thoughts, words, and actions. It is a fruit of the way of Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
It’s not that we are naturally weak-willed. But our fallen nature is under the influence of sin. The Bible calls it being a “slave to sin” (Romans 6:6). One definition of sin is “filling a legitimate need through illegitimate means.”
Without the power of the Holy Spirit, we are incapable of knowing and choosing how best to meet our needs. Even if we knew what would be best, such as not smoking, another need, like comfort, would take precedence and enslave us again.
Self-control seems to want to hide among all these other wonderful fruits. I don’t hear a lot of people talk about it. I know I would love to ignore it. But, there it is. How do I miss it? Let’s just talk about love, joy and peace. They are much more fun.
Self-control clearly doesn’t exist on its own. Like Paul, the Apostle Peter shows that it is a part of a whole series of attributes.
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus the Messiah. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
2 Peter 1:5–9 (NASB)
- Isaiah 53:7 (NASB) — 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
- Mark 14:61 (NASB) — 61 But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, “Are You the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
- Matthew 27:27–30 (NASB) — 27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him. 28 They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head.
- Jesus did not stop them. He is clearly our model for self-control.