Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24, 2011 … Add Self Control

Passage of the Day: 2nd Peter 1: 6a [NIV – see bold text] 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; …

My Journal for Today:
One other character signpost of real salvation in this list of Christlike qualities provided by Peter is SELF CONTROL. Peter uses the Greek concept “egkrateia” in today’s passage. Sometimes translated “temperance,” as in the KJV/NKJV; this is the same word used by the Apostle Paul when he listed the Fruit of the Spirit in Gal. 5: 22, 23.

You will note on Paul’s list of Christlike attributes, “egkrateia” (self control) appears last on the list; and I firmly believe there was purpose in that ordering. Paul recognized, as I believe is true, that self control (i.e., temperance) can never develop adequately in the life of the Christian unless all of the other spiritual fruit have matured sufficiently. In other words, Paul [with help from the Holy Spirit, of course] knew that self control is the most difficult of God’s spiritual fruit to develop in the life of all Christians. And so, it is my firm belief that the Christian who has a well developed attitude of temperance will be a Christian who has great confidence in his/her salvation.

The Greeks often used the term “egkrateia” to describe a finely trained athlete who was able to bring his sexual passions into a state of temperance while in training for a major event. In his devotional from Strength for Today for this date, John MacArthur offers several suggestions to which he would attribute to the self-controlled Christian. According to MacArthur, it would be a mature and confident Christian who would do the hard tasks in life first, avoiding procrastination. It would be this one who stays on task and on time; and it would be the well-tuned Christian who organizes his/her life to prioritize Christian values. It would be this one who practices delayed gratification, patiently doing what is necessary to reach short and long term goals; as well as one who accepts counsel or correction from more mature Christians. And finally, it would the more mature Christian who welcomes responsibility, not shirking or denying those things which must be done to be more like Christ.

Well, how’re we doing with “egkrateia” in our life? Personally, though I’m better than I used to be and I am confident in my salvation, the fruit of “egkrateia” could use quite a bit more development in my life. But any individual who has achieved any degree of the attributes outlined by MacArthur above and could be called a “self-controlled Christian” would be, as I stated above, a Christian who is likely very confident in his (or her) own salvation. Conversely, I believe that the Christian, who still has major self-control issues in his/her life, may at times have some doubts about the status of his/her salvation. Perhaps you can confirm or deny my contention here based on the status of self-control in your life. >>> What about it, fellow Christian?

My Prayer Today: Help me, Lord, to be totally surrendered in temperance to You. Amen

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