Self-control is the basis of all good earthly governments. Of course, we must note that self-control isnâ€™t something which you do. Itâ€™s a grace which the Spirit of God works in you. Dead men have zero self-control, nature moves them wherever it pleases, grinding them back into the dust from whence they came.
But in a twice-born man, the Spirit gives the grace to control your desires, appetites, affections, and impulses. This need for self-control doesnâ€™t dissipate with age, evaporate when you get married, or get shelved when you retire. The temptations you face may morph and change as you grow and mature, but the need for restraint on your sinful desires will not and cannot be outgrown.
Without grace, our impulses and desires wonâ€™t be restrained, and anarchy is the eventuality. But by the command of the Word and empowerment of the Spirit you are enabled to be self-controlled.
Fathers especially need to bear this in mind as they raise their sons and daughters. Your sons need to learn not to whine and pester their mother for snacks, to not aimlessly peruse the Vanity Fair of social media, and need to learn to control their strength so as to dig trenches, build dams, erect sky-scrapers, and create economies.
Your daughters need to learn to not burst into tears when something upsets them, or bat their eyelashes for the adrenaline rush of attention; instead they must be taught to control their glory and direct it into paint colors, gloriously spread tables, thoughtfully crafted outfits, and happy and healthy offspring.
All of this takes self-control. To resist sin, and to pursue righteousness. Thus, if a man or women, family or empire is to stand, they must do so by laying down their life in Christ, and being resurrected in the power of the Spirit.
We have become a people controlled by every wind of whim and every breeze of doctrine. We are, in many ways, not anchored to God’s Word and so we drift to our own indulgences. If we would have our families stand firm, our cities remain peaceful, and our nation endure in justice we need self-control in each of our individual lives. We need the Lord to grant us grace to restrain our sinful desires, and strengthen our muscles to do the good works He has prepared in advance for us to do.Â