For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose on their behalf.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Modern Christians, especially in the West, want to believe that they are in control. They want the power to determine their own choices and really know that their life is their own. But is that a Biblical concept?

For those of us who no longer live for ourselves but for Christ, what claim do we have to our bodies, minds and activities? Who is the Master of my life?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

If the fruit of the Spirit, that is the result of the Spirit working in us, includes self-control, it is not a product of our own efforts and ability, but God’s.

For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I do the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me.
I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully agree with the law of God in the inner person, but I see a different law in the parts of my body waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin, the law which is in my body’s parts. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

Romans 7:19-25

Self-control is not a matter of willpower. Paul said that sin is at work within his body, though his mind was at work for God. He had a conflict there that was Spiritual. Grace from God was the only thing to overcome it.

Is that an excuse to practice sin, then? No. A practice of sin is not Spiritual, and is against that same idea (the mind serves God) but the flesh remains while we are alive and so sin remains.

Over all these things, Grace abides. If we take on Jesus as King of our lives and invite the Holy Spirit to guide us, how can we be surprised when the Scriptural version of self-control is submission to God’s will over us?

Ethan Kirl