The Simple Truth About Self-Control (Part 2)
Self-control is desperately needed today. One glance at the headlines or the news and I’m reminded of a sad statement from the book of Judges:
In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Judges 17:6; KJV
All those years ago, every person decided what was right and did it without considering God. We’re seeing a similar trend in 2017. Sin has a grip on those who don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior. As believers, we have to be careful to rely on God’s Word when determining right from wrong. And no matter how unpopular it may be – share the truth in love with those who need the Lord.
It takes temperance, or self-control, to do the right thing in the eyes of the Lord.
Let’s continue studying this fruit and allow the Holy Spirit to develop it in us!
The following is an excerpt for my Bible study, Outrageously Fruitful with a few additions.
A Word from God’s Word
He was being hunted like an animal. David had been wary of King Saul for months. Ever since the people had made a big deal about David’s victory in battle, he noticed a difference in Saul’s behavior.
What had originally seemed like jealousy had become much more intense. Was it possible that he was in danger? After dodging the king’s javelin on more than one occasion, David knew the answer.
He found himself running for his life. But when David reached Adullam he was no longer alone. A large group of men willingly placed themselves under David’s leadership and became his faithful army. Ever mindful to stay one step ahead of King Saul, David and his men moved from place to place.
The search continues
In between battles, Saul was constantly searching for David. His men kept him informed of David’s whereabouts. Following a skirmish with the Philistines, Saul found out that David was in the wilderness of En-gedi. Saul wasted no time paying him a visit.
But the visit didn’t go exactly as Saul had planned. David and his men just happened to be in the cave Saul chose to enter. With his men encouraging him to kill the king, David’s actions may have shocked them. He didn’t even try to hurt Saul, but simply cut off the edge of his robe.
Following God’s will
He refused to kill Saul because the Lord had anointed him king over Israel. David showed great respect for Saul’s position, and even referred to him as “my master.” Instead of exacting revenge for Saul’s mistreatment of him, David exercised great self-control.
David was willing to reason with Saul. He told the king it was pointless to pursue him because he posed no threat. For a time Saul stopped following David.
The reprieve didn’t last long. Saul and three thousand of his best soldiers once again began searching for David. When word got back to David that Saul was in the area, he and one of his men, Abishai went to investigate. Sure enough, Saul’s army was pitched nearby.
Under the cover of darkness the two crept into Saul’s camp. Abishai’s advice sounded familiar, “God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time.” His men continued to think that killing the king was the answer.
He told Abishai not to kill him. The Lord had anointed Saul as king and would not hold the man guiltless who took his life. David was confident that the Lord would remove Saul from the throne in His timing. Wow – David once again chose to react with self-control.
In situations where it seemed like David had a right to take the life of the king, he chose not to. It would have been easy to justify his behavior, but instead he demonstrated temperance in extremely difficult circumstances.
How will you exercise self-control in a challenging relationship? How does the Lord want you to respond to the lesson today?
*Temperance is one of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:23. If you’re interested in studying the fruit of the Spirit in greater detail, I’ve written a 10-week Bible study, Outrageously Fruitful, you can pick up here.
Can I pray for you?
Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding us that self-control is possible even in situations with difficult people. We’re grateful for the examples from the life of David. Help us choose temperance even when people around us justify decisions that go against Your Word. Help us share the truth in love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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