"I love the sense of satisfaction that I get when I’ve done a swimming workout or race, and know that I gave my whole being and heart to God in every moment of the swim. It’s the best worship I can offer him."
Self-controlFor this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith…self-control; 2 Peter 1:5-6
The word have is not common in the New Testament but is included in Paul’s list of the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5. Our first thought in relation to self-control may be food and drink and but it applies to every aspect of life as well as them.
Christian self-control involves submission to the control of the in-dwelling Jesus Christ. Elsewhere in 2 Peter (2:10 and 3:3) it is implied that some people felt that because of their superior knowledge they were exempt from the need for self-control. Peter argues, rather, the true knowledge, which come from God, will lead to more self-control.
As athletes we may think of self-control as watching what we eat or doing that extra bit of training when we don’t feel like it. A multiple Olympic rowing gold medallist used to say that his biggest battle was with the duvet each morning when an extra hour in bed seemed a lot more attractive than a gruelling work-out on a cold lake.
For Christians self-control may involve winning the battle with the duvet in order to find time to pray and read the Bible in the morning. It also involves biting our tongue, opting out of the moaning and gossip sessions. It may involve being gracious when we really want to shout at someone!
Remember that Peter is not saying choose any two from seven. We are to express our faith through goodness, knowledge and self-control – and the other four virtues that we will look at over the next four weeks.