Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 27 August 19:
1 Timothy 3:2-3 — Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
Once again, our readings address the issue of self-control. Self-control is a primary, essential attribute of good character, maturity, and leadership of any kind. Here, Paul says church leaders MUST have self-control that is “above reproach” and “blameless.” (1 Timothy 3:1) Impeccable self-control should be the stereotype of the Christian.
People and pleasures. Our readings today reveal that the primary test of self-control, the thing mentioned most, is how we treat others and the impact, or positive influence, we have on their lives, particularly those closest to us. The second test is what gives us pleasure – “You cannot serve God and money.” (Luke 16:13)
As discussed previously, self-control is not primarily the product of personal will power, but rather the product of our relationship with Jesus (see John 15), a fruit of the spirit – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22, 23) The key to self-control is abiding in Him and His love.
God gives us His Spirit, but the Bible also says, we can quench the Spirit, grieve the Spirit and get out of step with the Spirit –
– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 – [Quenching the Spirit] Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
– Ephesians 4:30-32 – [Grieving the Spirit] And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
– Galatians 5:25, 26 — [Getting out of step with the Spirit] If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
So, we have our role to play in growing in self-control. How can you build your self-control? First, learn the habits of rejoicing, praying and giving thanks in all circumstances. Simultaneously, hold fast to what is good, abstain from evil and put away all bitterness, anger, slander and malice. Make the daily decision to be gentle to all and to forgive as God has forgiven you. Finally, don’t become conceited and provoke or envy others. Notice how much of self-control involves being content in your circumstances, thankful for the grace and blessings God has given you and resting in the sufficiency of Christ, simply abiding in His love. This is something you can practice today.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 27 August 19: Today, abide in Jesus to have self-control.