“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Without self-control it would be impossible to have any other virtue. The other virtues promote self-control in the life of the Christian. So Peter urges us to “make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly kindness, and brotherly kindness with love” (2 Peter 1:5-8).
In the New Testament, the concept of “self-control” is closely linked to the idea of “righteousness”. Paul “reasoned of righteousness, and self-control, and the judgement to come” (Acts 24:25). The act of conversion is a departure from undisciplined living to self-controlled Christian living. Self-control is vital to the Christian life.
Paul illustrated this fact in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27: “Every man that striveth in the games exerciseth self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible….But I buffet my body and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.” History documents the rigorous demands placed on the ancient athletes and the similar demands on modern professional athletes. The ancient and modern Christian must also control himself in order to be accepted rather than rejected by the Lord. In the last days of this final dispensation, society will be marked by the absence of self-control–2 Timothy 3:3.
Self-control must be displayed by the Christian when tempted. The sermon on the mount is a beautiful discourse on the self-control God expects from His people.
Christians are challenged be disciplined enough to acknowledge their sin with mourning and mature until they rejoice in persecutions–Matthew 5:3-11.
The Christian must maintain his character so to be a light to the world–Matthew 5:13-16.
The Christian must excel in righteousness by living under the law of God–Matthew 5:17-20.
The Christian must refrain from sexual immorality and be faithful to his word (marriage and social covenants)–Matthew 5:27-37.
The Christian must restrain his anger and other emotions–Matthew 5:38-48.
The Christian must maintain worship for God and not for personal pride–Matthew 6:1-18.
The Christian must place his trust and investments in Heaven rather than in transient treasures–Matthew 6:19-34.
The Christian must be true to self and to God by walking the true paths of our Lord in attitude and character–Matthew 7.