Read Titus 2:1-15
SELF-CONTROL — I am able to control myself through Christ.
For the grace of God . . . teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives . . . (vv. 11-12).
The gift God gave when Jesus gave His life, shed His very own blood in our place, that gift is not just a one-time thing. Sure, when we ask Him to forgive us and to be our Lord, when we trust Him as the Savior of our forever lives, at that moment He forgives and changes our status from “dead in sin” to “alive for real and forever.” But God’s gift of grace continues in us. He uses it do work in our souls. God uses His grace to teach us how to really live, the way He designed us to.
The very grace of God, the grace that sent Jesus Christ the King of Life to sinful, dirty, dark earth for 33 years, continues on. In these Holy Spirit-inspired words, the Apostle Paul lays out instructions for the church about how to behave, how to follow God’s ways so that His way of life becomes our own. And it is this grace, this undeserved gift of Jesus Christ and real life, that transforms us into godly people who live godly lives. Godly people whose living is controlled by the Spirit Who lives inside of us. Righteous living that shows off Who God is to the dark, sin-infested world full of people who don’t yet know this real life through Jesus. The grace of God instructs His people to live in a way that reflects His choices, His life, His righteousness. This is self-control.
The word in the original Greek is sophronos. King James translates it as discreetly. It means “living soberly, with moderation, prudently reflecting the radical-balance birthed within by faith from the Lord.” (You can check that out here: http://concordances.org/greek/4996.htm) You see, through the power of the Holy Spirit, every single Jesus-follower has it within them to live self-controlled lives. So when we are faced with the want to go on some crazy spending spree but we know we don’t have the cash, we have the strength to say no. And when we want to throw a temper tantrum because something didn’t go like we wanted it to, we have the power to calmly deal with the disappointment and avoid looking like a two-year-old.
The thing about self-control is that it comes from the power of the Holy Spirit alive in us. It grows in us as we know Him and follow Him more intimately, relying on His power within us.