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  • Chris Crosby

Eight ways to increase our effectiveness in Christ-Part Four

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

2 Peter 1:5-9 For this very reason, 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 affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

Let’s continue our look at 2 Peter 1:5-9. So far, we studied about

how our faith in Jesus provides the foundation upon which we build everything else and added an understanding of what virtue and knowledge mean. If you missed those lessons, you can read them here: faith, virtue, or knowledge.

The next quality we should add is self-control. Most of us don’t like talking about this quality. It requires fighting our flesh and choosing what is best instead of what our emotions dictate.

Self-control, sometimes translated temperance, requires overcoming the desire to say what pops into mind and measuring our words against God’s commands. It includes saying “no” to the second cinnamon roll. It demands getting up out of the chair and doing the work that needs to be done instead of scrolling social media or reading another chapter in the latest book. It means getting up and going to the gym instead of hitting the snooze button.

Strong’s Concordance defines self-control as the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions. The person who demonstrates self-control exhibits restraint, moderation, discipline, and balance. As noted in the examples above, all these adjectives describe a self-controlled life.

A healthy exercise for any serious Christ-follower is to examine each area of life for self-control. Let’s ask ourselves if we are exhibiting restraint, moderation, discipline, and balance in our:

· Appetites

· Exercise

· Relationships

· Careers

· Recreation/entertainment

· Hobbies

As I reflect on these areas and the amount of self-control I exhibit, I know I have a lot of work to do. At times it may seem overwhelming. If we start with one area – whichever one the Holy Spirit prompts you to focus – look for opportunities to demonstrate temperance. I find when I view the struggle from the perspective of what is stronger…my flesh or God’s power in me, I more often demonstrate self-control.

This will not be an easy challenge, but will you join me in developing an increasing level of self-control in your life? God promises we will not regret the effort.

Next week we will study the fifth quality that supplements our faith – steadfastness. I hope you will join me.

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