Skip to comments.Randy Mann: "Living Under Control"
Posted on 04/29/2006 6:23:10 PM PDT by sionnsar
For something else that is somewhat different from what we have been reading, here is an article, Living Under Control, by Randy Mann, which appeared in U-Turn magazine some time ago. Randy Mann addresses self-control in this essay, which is something we all need to think about from time to time:
We must take control of our lives and not allow the world, the flesh, or the devil to rule over us (Gal 5:16, 1Jn 2:15-17). Self-indulgence stands in contrast to self-control. Paul in 1Cor 9:24-27 calls us to exercise self-control similar to the strict discipline exercised by a marathon runner as we run the race of the Christian life (cf. Heb 12:1, 2 Tim 4:7). Proverbs 25:28 says, Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls. As Richard Ganz4 notes, the word spirit is the translation of the Hebrew word ruach, which has reference to ruling over our inner person, which implies control over our actions, attitudes, and motivations. The Greek word, enkráteia, translated self-control (cf. Gal 5:23) is used of Joseph in Genesis 43:31 in the Septuagint. Joseph is overcome with emotion at the sight of his brother, Benjamin (v. 30), but we read he came out and, controlling himself (v. 31) an obvious reference to control of his emotions. This illustrates how we are to take control of our thoughts and passions, for failure to do so can lead to the breaking of Gods law. Notice how Paul deliberately spoke of self-control to Felix and his wife, Drusilla, in Acts 24:25. Pauls reference to self-control obviously made an impact upon them as they reflected upon their own lust, greed, and thirst for power and grandeur!5This is well worth considering for any of us--and see what you think about U-Turn itself.
Self-control is explicitly said to be a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:23). Contextually, this statement is found between two references to the role of the Spirit in the Christians life. We are to be led by the Spirit (v. 18) and keep in step with the Spirit (v. 25). The Spirit-led Christian will be in constant conflict with the desires of the sinful nature (v. 17), but has crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires (v. 24). Self-control is thus a fruit or quality developed in the believers life in the process of being led by the Spirit. These are not the same as the gifts of the Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 12:8-11). Galatians 5:22-23 refers to ethical graces the Spirit produces in our lives in accordance with Gods desire to make us holy like Christ in character and conduct. To understand the relationship between the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit, note that Paul argues the gifts of tongues and prophecy are empty and useless without the fruit of love guiding their use (1 Cor 13). So too, the fruit of self-control is needed in the exercise of spiritual gifts such as tongues or prophecy (1 Cor 14: 26-32).
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