Self- Control

By Pr Zeny Vidacak, October 31, 2050

Self-contol is the last on Paul's fruit of the Spirit list. The coming of Jesus into a life of a person brings the kind of power which results in self-control. We see this exemplified in a demoniac whose self-control, when Jesus drove out deamons from his life, went from zero to 100%. The most basic question is what causes us to loose self-control. Biblical answer is ‘flesh’. Here are the questions we are going to cover in this sermon:

  1. What is the meaning of biblical expression ‘flesh’?
  2. What is the ‘promise’ of 'flesh' to us?
  3. What is the goal of ‘flesh’ with us?
  4. How does ‘flesh’ accomplish its goal with us?
  5. What is the way out?

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.” (Eph. 2:1-3)

1. What is the Meaning of Biblical Expression “Flesh”?

Flesh is an inclination of a person to be independent of God and at the centre of attention

This inclination was first experienced by Eve and Adam and than passed on to all of us.

“If you eat of this fruit, you will be as God, being able to decide what is right and what is wrong.” (Gen 3)

Human heart got bent at the Garden of Eden.

Holy Spirit is constantly in the business of slowly softening our hearts and turning the bent so that our nature will be put back.

2. What Does Flesh Promise To Us?

We all have a unique ‘flesh’- desires of 'flesh' vary. It can be; career, sport, money.
After ‘flesh’ promises success than it:

  1. It creates
  2. We then loose

3. What is the Goal of ‘Flesh’?

In fact, there are two goals of flesh:

  1. To convince you that you don't need God.
  2. To enslave you

If you have that, listen to that, see that or experience that, you will not need God. By the same token if you have that and experience that and that is your life desire there is every chance it will have you and have power over you.

4. How Does ‘Flesh’ Accomplish Its Goal?

  1. By creating compulsive behaviour
  2. We loose self-control

All of us are driven and addicted unless we are under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

‘Flesh’ tells us, 'you must have this, or you can't loose that, or you have to win. Why?
Because this is our ‘righteousness’. In other words, you are promissed the fulfilment and also that you will feel good or that you will be accepted and part of an inner circle.

5. What is the Way Out?

The only way out is through the Goespel tells me, ‘You are already accepted. You already have fulfilment in me. You already can have joy in me. You have already won’

“Very often, when I most want to do the right thing, evil lies close at hand. In my inmost self… I delight in the law of God, but there is another principle out here in my members, in my soul, making war against the law of my mind, bringing me captive, and sometimes I do the very thing I hate.” (Rom. 7)

How do we deal with flesh addiction and compulsion?

14 Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven. 17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22 But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder. 23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”

  1. The Wrong Solution: Human willpower.

Many people want to live morally tidy life but don't want to have Jesus in their lives.

  1. The Right Solution: Gospel

23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

What is self-control?

  1. It is choosing that which is important over temporary

What is the strategy Paul uses in the struggle between flesh and gospel? He He constantly thinks about the ‘prize’

In the Garden of Eden Eve imagined life without God and than she made a decision which plunged humanity into darkness.

  1. Use spiritual imagination when ‘flesh’ is pressing you hard.

“Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified …”