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Self Control 

  1. Introduction – I Cor. 9:25-27
  • Ex. Bike Riding.  Mountains where I lived – Loose Gravel.  Desire for Speed!  Awesome Speed!  No desire for breaks! 
  • Corners… bumps in road… Ramps…  Bleeding knees, head, elbows, hands, thorns, rocks in your skin… Handlebars twisted sideways, damaged rims…
  • Eventual knowledge that a loss of major thrillage… is not as painful as a torn up body.  Self Control is needed.
  • In Life, we have bumps, ramps, corners, loose gravel we are going to encounter.  Sometimes we are going to have to give up pleasures in the name of self control.
  1. Considering self control Issues in our life.
  1. When we focus on self-control, we often think with regret about…
  1. Times when we were younger
    1. Words said rashly
    1. Flaring of Temper – Doors to replace
    2. Time not spend wisely
    • Study
    • Preparing ourselves for being on our own
    1. Stupid behaviors
    1. Physical Desires – wish first kiss was to spouse
  1. Today, focusing on self-control, we may think about…
  1. Same Issues
  2. New Issues
    1. Spending problems – financial issues
    1. Food Consumption Issues
    2. Lack of Exercise Issues
    • Percentage of American's who own running shoes but don't run: 87%
    1. Patience with our spouse and Children
    2. Poor Choices regarding our Media intake
    3. Inability to focus on the commands of Christ
  1. Who has Self Control Issues?  Are they all sinful issues?
  1. Everyone
  2. Anytime we do not control our lives in a godly manner, we have self control issues.
  3. Does not have to be a habit or an addiction.
  4. May be a one time issue – That one instance of lack of control may lead to irreparable harm.
  5. Note: Not all self-control issues are sinful, but all sins are self control issues.
  6. “We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God” Rom. 8:23
  1. Why do we think about our self-control problems?
  1. Working Definition of Self Control:
    1. Def: Suppressing a specific behavior, emotion, or impulse in order to achieve something perceived as better.
    1. We realize there is something better than what we are engaged in.
    • Better to feel confident about finances than constantly worried.
    • Peace and calmness is better than blasting tempers in a home.
  1. What motivates our behaviors?
  1. We are motivated by avoiding pain  (The something better is less pain)
  1. Acts 24:24-25 – Felix sent Paul away fearing pain of consequences of lack of self control.
  2. Mat. 13:41-42Weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  3. Naaman – Self control issues almost left him a leper.
  4. Israel – Self control issues led to their destruction – There example is a motivator for us!
  1. We are motivated by the Presence of Joy (The something better is more Joy)
  1. Acts 24:26 – Felix had control over his fear so that he could seek out the joy of riches.
  2. I Cor. 9:25 – Runners of Isthmian games had control for Joy of a crown or wreath of celery
  3. I Cor. 9:25 – Paul had control for the joy of a heavenly crown.
  4. II Pet. 1:5-7What Cause?  Verse 4 – That is eternal life with God!  That is the presence of Joy!
  1. What are the sources of our motivation for our behaviors? Self, Others, & God.
  1. Self – I am willing to face the consequences.  They only affect me.  Nothing else matters.
  1. Mat. 19:16-22 – Source of the young Rich Man’s motivation was his personal pleasure and pain.
  1. Behavior ChoiceFollow Christ or Not Follow Christ
    1. Follow Christ?
    1. Pain Motivation: give up riches, from which he obtained pleasure.
    2. Pleasure Motivation: was eternal life, which if he did not have would cause pain.

    3. Young man chose not to experience the pain of giving up riches based on self desire. 

  1. Others – If I choose a course of action, others will be affected.  The impact on them is of concern.
  1. Exodus 1:8-11 – Israel enslaved for own protection and labor.
  1. Exodus chps. 5-14Source of Pharoah’s motivation was his nation’s pleasure and pain.
  1. Behavior Choice: Release the people of Israel or Keep them as slaves.
    1. Release Israel?
    1. Pain M: Pharoah would lose a massive body of servants which gave the nation pleasure.
    2. Pleasure Motivation: His people would no longer be plagued, but the loss would cause pain.

    4. Continually, Pharoah chose to experience the pain of enslaving Israel based on Nation’s Desires. 

  1. God – When I make decisions. God is deeply affected.  The impact on God is of concern.
  1. I Samuel 24:1-7David was concerned about God’s reaction.
  1. Behavior Choice: Kill Saul or Avoid Saul

    a.  Kill Saul?

    1. Pain Motivation: Pain to God by Saul’s death, but no disobedient king would give pleasure.
    2. Pleasure Motivation: God pleased His anointed lives, but Saul’s disobedience would give pain.
  1. David chose to avoid saul and let him live based on the pleasure it would Give God.
  1. We Know then…
  1. All men suffer from self Control Issues.
  2. We try to control ourselves in order to achieve something better.
  3. Pain and pleasure motivate our behaviors.
  4. The sources of our motivations are Self, Others, and God.

V. God has established the order of importance for the source of our motivations.

  1. 10 Commandments – God First, Others Second
  2. What is the greatest commandment of the law?
  1. Matt. 22:36-40 – God First, Others Second

Any other order than God first, presents a self control problem, like the rich young man and Pharoah.

VI. Why do we engage in undesirable Behavior? 2 Reasons:

  1. Ignorance – Many folks do not understand the spiritual blessings that come in Christ.
  1. (Acts 3:17-19; Acts 17:23,30)
  2. Paul persecuting Christians is an example of ignorance.
  3. Ignorance, requires repentance.
  4. Ignorance is one reason men lack self control.
  1. Hardened Heart
  1. (Mar. 6:52, Mar. 8:17 – Men still thinking physically)
  1. David with Bathsheba is another example of a hardened heart.
  2. Hardening our Hearts and not putting God first results in undesirable Behavior.

VII. Can we learn self control?

  1. Ex. You can train a dog.  You can train a child.  Yes, you can train yourself as well.
  1. Phi 4:13 -  I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me.
  2. Col 3:1-2 - If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth.
  1. Identify the goal

    Is the goal worth it?  If the behavior involves sin, the goal is eternal life.  The presence of Joy!

  1. Imitate Perfection – Consult Experts
  1. What did Jesus Do?
    1. Cast out hindrances
    1. Cast out entanglements
  1. What did Paul say and do? (I Cor. 9:25)
    1. Buffet body
    2. Put body under bondage
  1. Focus
  1. Paul did not run in circles

    a. Each Step was directed in the footsteps of Jesus

  1. He did not beat the air
    1. Each punch counted
    1. How do we biblically punch?
    • The only offensive weapon we have – The Sword – Eph. 6:17
    • Each punch is focused on extinguishing evil and spreading good.
  1. Dedication / Resistance Training
  1. Isthmian games – Proof of 10 Months Training and took an Oath.
  2. 2 Tim. 3:1-5AVOID! Turn away from those without self control
  1. Execute by focusing on the sources of our motivations in proper order
  2. Give control over to God
    1. Mat. 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit…”
    1. Mat. 5:5 – “Blessed are the meek…”
  1. Pray

    a. This involves identifying goal, imitating perfection, focusing on God.

  1. Follow
    1. This is dedication and Execution.

VIII. Closing

  1. God is for you
  1. 1Co 10:13 - There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.
  1. 2Ti 1:7  - For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.
  1. Gal 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.

God Has Given us the gift of Self Control so that we may achieve something better. 

Will You accept His Gift Today?