The Pryor Times

February 6, 2014

Out of control!

PRYOR, OK — What comes to your mind when you hear the words, “Out of control?”  Maybe it is a driver losing control on an icy road or a large truck going down a steep hill without brakes.  Perhaps it is a speeding boat with malfunctioning steering.  You might think about a race driver who has no concern for his or anyone else’s safety.  Or, a totally ill-mannered child may come to mind.  Whatever it is, if it is out of control, what good is it?

The world’s most expensive and most luxurious automobile would be worthless without a means of controlling it.  The most beautiful boat on the water would be useless without a way to control it.  A beautiful body, a brilliant mind, and an abundance of talent are wasted upon an individual who is devoid of self-control.

When the apostle Paul had an opportunity to talk to Felix, he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come (Acts 24:25).  Paul recognized the importance of these things, and he tried to get Felix to recognize their importance as well.  In 2 Peter 1:6, Peter instructs Christians to add self-control to knowledge, virtue, and faith.  Although knowledge is important, it is wasted unless it is put into practice.

Controlling self begins with controlling one’s thoughts.  Solomon said in Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”  Keeping your heart with all diligence means, of course, that we are to control our mind.  Similarly, Jesus said in Matthew 12:34-35, “Brood of vipers!  How can you, being evil, speak good things?  For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”  Our thoughts determine what we say and what we do.  So, to control the body, we must first control the mind.

Even though the apostle Paul was one of the strongest Christians to ever live, he had to work at self-control just like the rest of us.  He wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:27, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”  Paul recognized the fact that God intends for our bodies to be our servants, not our masters.  

It is important for us to control our bodies.  With our various fleshly desires, this is a daily struggle.  Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”  Satan is constantly watching us, waiting for us to have a weak moment in which he can cause us to lose control.

Self-control is a personal responsibility.  Each individual must control his own body.  We may teach others the necessity of practicing self-control and even show the advantages of doing so, but the practice must be left up to the individual.  Parents cannot do it for their children.  Teachers cannot do it for their students.  Coaches cannot do it for their athletes.  A person must make up his own mind to do it.

When we determine to exercise self-control, God will help us if we ask Him.  In 1 Corinthians 10:13, we are promised, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”  If you sometimes find yourself losing control of yourself, ask God to help.  Turn your life over to Him, and He will guide you in the right way.  Solomon wrote in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”