Characteristics of a Christian, Part 9 – Self-Control

The Characteristics of a Christian: Self-Control

Outline, Notes, and Discussion Questions

Everything we hope to do well in life requires training and practice, is there a reason to think that following Jesus shouldn’t?

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-25

What makes a person someone who possesses “self-control”?

What are our affections, passions and desires? Do we have a right/obligation to fulfill our desires in any way we see fit? If so, why and if not why not?

They can be fulfilled in ways that God does not ordain, or with self-control, they can be denied, delayed, or fulfilled in God-ordained ways.

  • Example: overwork/”workoholism” vs proper work/rest balance

Self control is the ability to direct our affections, passions, and desires according to our will (ideally toward God’s will).

What are some other ways we should think about self-control biblically?

How do we fight sins of greed, anger, lust, refusal to rest, gluttony, drunkenness, etc with self control?

So how do we learn self-control as a Characteristic of a Christian?

1) We learn self-control by learning who Jesus is.

Don’t forget that Jesus was tempted. In Matthew 4:8-10 you can read how the devil himself tempted Jesus.

Hebrews 5:8 says he learned obedience through what he suffered.

How do self-control and suffering relate?

2) We learn self-control by loving the church.

How does the church provide a community and a context for learning to be like Jesus? What about specifically in the area of self-control?

What is one area of your life that you need to learn self-control? What is one desire you need to learn to deny or delay or fulfill in a God-ordained manner? Who can you enlist to help you?

3) We learn self-control by desiring what is right and good.

How is self control about more than denial?

How do we learn better desires, passions, and affections? How does music and media help or harm us in this way?

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

Another place that teaches Characteristics of a Christian similarly is 2 Peter 1:3-8. What things are similar and what are different? How does this teach us that we need to learn and practice being like Jesus?

3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:3-8

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