Mastery Over Self
Sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.
Does anyone purpose in their heart for life or ministry to end up in ruin or failure? Probably not. I believe most of us do intend for our state of being to end well. So why do so many start off well and end up with great loss. Obviously there could be a host of reasons and excuses. In 2 Peter 1:5-11 we are strongly encouraged to GIVE ALL DILIGENCE, and ADD to our FAITH some CHARACTER VIRTUES that will help and aid us through our walk in this world.
The word of God discerns man’s heart. In that one of our human weaknesses is to NEGLECT areas of life that we may not think important. READ the text
2 Peter 1:5-6
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,
GIVING ALL DILIGENCE or pay attention, give yourself, initiate this because in the natural we will neglect our character. What type of person have you become? What type of person does the Word of God say you should become? What type of person do you want to become? Human nature is naturally inward. We tend to always think how others make us feel or what others do to us. Not considering that maybe we are the one's lacking something in our own character. God cares about our lives here on earth so he warns us of the dire consequences of neglecting our character.
2 Peter 1:9
For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
I call it Spiritual Amnesia. These are some consequences to neglecting character.
- Loss of Vision- you
can lose focus to where you are going and why you made the decision to get
saved in the first place.
- Forget What Jesus did for you - This is tragic! It will play out in your character. Revert to the old man.
The Result: Bad (sinful) decisions are made about money, relationships, work, how you spend your time. Not having self-control has the ability to affect every area of life.
I realize that in our text there is a whole list of things we are to work on and add to our faith. For the sake of this blog post let's key in on a virtue that I think is instrumental to undergo a character change "SELF CONTROL". This virtue is something we really must get a handle on because this is going to color every area of our life. From handling money, emotions, sexual purity this virtue is desperately needed to make righteous decisions. Other words for SELF CONTROL are TEMPERANCE and MASTERY over SELF.
It is possible to be a born again Christian with bad character! I believe this is one of the chief reasons why people struggle with the same problems. Take for instance someone who is in debt. Invariably they believe if they could have just a little more money they would fix their problem. This is a false hope if they lack the virtue of SELF CONTROL. What they will do when they get more money is usually spend more and increase their debt or get more loans thus compounding the problem. It reminds me of a quote that I heard from Winston Churchill. Someone had approached him and suggested that education is the key in changing society. But Winston Churchill understanding human nature said "If you educate a crook that sleeps in empty box cars of trains all you will do is educate him to steal the whole train." Because unless their inner person is changed they will choose according to what they are.
Some trials God will allow for the devil to tempt you, but then there are the ones that we MAKE FOR OURSELVES by making poor decisions.
In conclusion I want to leave you with this encouragement of " The Spirits Help".
2 Tim 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
In 1 Sam 22:1-2 it says that David when he escaped to the cave of Adullam that 400 men that were distressed, in debt, and discontent surrounded themselves to him. David who is an Old testament Christ type began to spiritually impart something into these men that resulted in the changing of their reputation and character. We read later on that these men became the mighty men of David. One of these choice men had the ability to defeat up to 800 foes in battle. Do you see the contrast? Physically these were the same men, but a spiritual transformation began to take place as they rallied their lives around David. Likewise when we get saved and follow Christ Jesus we have the same potential.
We read in Luke 8:35 of the Gadarene demoniac. After he has an encounter with Jesus, he was delivered from a legion of evil spirits and redeemed by the Holy Spirit. The bible documents that part of the noticeable change of this mans life was that he was now in his right mind. Here was a man who was controlled by Satan and could not be brought under control or tamed by any man. It is written that he would break chains and fetters. Thus this man was in a constant rage until Jesus brought him under the dominion of the Holy Ghost.
We can be encouraged because the promise of the Holy Spirit's help. In one bible version it says a "disciplined mind" brought under the dominion of Holy Spirit. This does not mean that the Spirit will it do it for you. What it means is that God has cleared the path way for us and now we must begin to build upon it.
These verses give us confidence that we can have a victorious Christian walk if we will pay attention to our character. How encouraging it is to know the will of God for our lives.
2 Peter 1:8 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:10 Therefore brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
(c) Dan Canonge 2012: used with permission