Only one human has ever lived with perfect self-control. While we see acts of self-control from Daniel, John the Baptist, Paul, and others in the Bible, only Jesus did it perfectly. He did not sway from the will of his father, even with the looming anticipation of all humanity’s sin falling on his innocent shoulders at the cross. Jesus displayed self-control in a statement that should guide all our hearts. Matthew 26:38-39 describes the scene: “Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
“Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Surrender and fierce trust in the will of God is the ultimate act of self-control, because in doing so we refuse to be mastered by anything other than the Master. The beautiful truth is that only in him will we find the strength to love and trust him. Self-control is vital to the health of the Christian, but he does not leave us by ourselves to figure it out. As 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”
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Chara Donahue is a co-author of the Bible study 1, 2 & 3 John: Experiencing Transformation and is working on her next book. She enjoys serving as a biblical counselor, speaking to women, and savoring coffee when her four kids are out playing with dad. She holds an MSEd from Corban University, is passionate about seeing people set free through God's truths, and is the founder and editor of Anchored Voices. Get in touch with her on Facebook or Twitter.