"and in your knowledge, self-control..." 2 Peter 1:6
The fourth quality mentioned by Peter is self-control. This is the concept of self discipline, being in control of yourself and your passions, rendering your body and mind in obedience to the will. Paul told Timothy that there would come a time when difficult times will come with difficult people, and one of the descriptions of those people is that they are without self-control (2 Timothy 3:3). In Philippians 3:19, Paul describes the enemies of the cross of Christ. One of the characteristics is that their "god is their appetite." Without self-control we will lack the drive to accomplish the good work which must be done, and will lack the strength to overcome the strong lure of sin.
I think of athletics when I think of self-control. I especially think of running, which is an illustration Paul used in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. Someone who wants to be a runner must have self-control. They have to have the inward drive to get themselves out of bed and running, even when its hot or cold. They don't wait for someone to tell them, they know what they want to achieve, and they set out to do it. When you see someone who is working out, becoming fit, you see them taking precautions on their daily habits. They watch what they eat, they make sure they are hydrated all the time, they don't stay up late, but they are sure to be up early. They have disciplined themselves for the purpose of bodily strength.
That is the idea behind spiritual self-control! It requires making yourself do the things which must be done, and telling yourself no to things you must avoid. Perhaps of all the qualities Peter mentioned, this is one you need to work on. It can be easy to let time fly by and we don't make the most of what God has given us because we lack control. Here's some things you can do to work on self-control:
- Get organized - clean up, put your desk/room in order. Make a list of priorities and put them in order. Schedule out your time so that everything gets done
- Use your time wisely - don't procrastinate. Work hard! Don't waste time. Stay busy. Be punctual. (Ephesians 5:15-16)
- Pay attention to small things - we often overlook the small details, but if we lack discipline in small matters, it often causes failure in the big things too (Luke 19:17)
- Tell yourself no from time to time - gain control of your own appetites by denying yourself pleasures you may be entitled to. Skip dessert. Take a walk instead of a nap. Do something nice for your spouse rather than treating yourself.
- Once you start something, finish it - see it through. Don't quit. Why multiply projects when you haven't finished what you've started before? Sit down and get what you've started completed!
Need self control? Start today! Set your life in order, and you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish through the Lord, and your own self determination!