“Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach...”

// 1 Timothy 3:2

In his impassioned letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul stresses the importance of leading by example. As Christians, we are called to be leaders and teachers, spreading the Gospel through all nations. Having been commissioned by Christ to continue God’s plan for redemption, we cannot be lawbreakers, rebels, murderers, adulterers, liars, perjurers, nor anything else that is contrary to the Lord’s doctrine [1 Timothy 1: 9-10]. With this responsibility and authority, Paul reminds us that we must be self-controlled. However, in this age of selfishness, many people narrow-mindedly view the call to be self-controlled simply as a method for achieving personal success.

When Jesus declared that we must deny ourselves, pick up our cross daily, and follow Him [Luke 9:23], He was instructing us how to live out our purpose as children of God. Joy and prosperity flow out of the ability to die to self, and the world experiences deliverance when we walk in the ways of the righteous. During creation God commanded humanity to take care of the earth; self-control is an instrument for living out that call. Why? Because our actions and behaviors impact the world around us.

Even without spenidng a lot of time studying the Word, it won't take long to come across this message regarding man’s responsibility to his neighbor. Beyond the Bible, songs like Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” commercials such as Liberty Mutual’s “Pay It Forward,” and advertisements like the MTA’s “Courtesy Campaign” all convey this point! Whether purposefully or inadvertently, they remind us of one of our primary callings as human beings: God created us to be caretakers of the world.

Let’s be a church that answers this call by learning how to practice self-control. Put simply, being self-controlled means we are a people that take God at His word; we have the utmost faith in His promises. In the Garden of Eden the serpent persuaded Eve to lose her self-control by getting her to question whether God’s word was true – He tested her faith! Press forward knowing that the call to be self-controlled is not a battle against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil [Ephesians 6:12]. In the midst of warfare, we have to believe!

// Roshard Bryant