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Article by Minister Janice Jones



This week’s fruit of the spirit is Self-Control. describes self-control as the ability to exercise restraint or control over one’s feelings, emotions, reactions, etc. And our models for self-control are John the Baptist & Peter (for his lack thereof). 


Unlike many, John the Baptist immediately knew his mission from God and did not stray from it.  He was purposed to teach and preach about Christ.  (Read Matthew 3:1-12) John preached with forceful authority although he actually held no influence or power in the Jewish political system.  Yet, that did not stop the crowds of hundreds who came to hear him speak and be baptized.  In all of his fame and adulation, however, John always remained in control and never lost sight of his mission, which was to exalt Jesus and never himself.  Matthew 3:11 says, “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am–so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” And in turn Jesus exalted John the Baptist.  Luke 7:28 says, “I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!” John was even martyred and murdered for his obedience, mission and self-control by Herod, who happened to be one of John’s admirers. (Read Mark 6:14-29.) Mark 6:20 says, “for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.” John’s humility and self-control earned him the respect of our Savior. It even earned him the respect of an enemy who, though challenged by his preaching, still found greatness in him.   


Our model for not maintaining self-control, at least for the benefit of this message, is Peter.  While Peter went on to become one of Jesus’ great preachers and messengers, he was also known for being a bit of an emotional hot head.   (Read John 18:1-14).  When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus before the crucifixion, which Jesus was expected because He understood His mission and destiny, Peter cut off the ear of one of the soldiers.  John 18:10-11 says, “Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?”  In further humiliation, Peter lied, denying even being one of Jesus’ disciples.  (Read John 18:15-18 & 18:25-27.)  Peter was demonstrative in his exhibitions and reactions to his surroundings.  Instead of thinking things through and responding with calm, rationale and trust, Peter did and said the first thing that came from his heart.  Mark 7:21-22 says, “For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.”  The sins listed in this text are all pure examples of a lack of self-control.  In fact in Mark 7:21-22 you will find listed four of the Seven Deadly Sins, which are greed, pride, lust, envy, sloth, wrath and gluttony.  And each of the seven deadly sins can be tied to a lack of self-control. 


Wrath – you cannot control your emotions, which causes you to become dangerously/sinfully angry.

Greed – you cannot control your desires, which cause you to be excessive in any area especially wealth and possessions.

Sloth – you cannot control your laziness, which causes you to be sloppy, disorganized and even unclean.

Pride – you cannot control your desire to unduly think more highly of yourself or even lowlier of yourself than you ought.  The key word to pride is SELF.

Lust – You cannot control your sexual passions or passions to have something you should not have.

Envy – You cannot control your unhealthy desire to have what others have, which cause wicked jealousy.

Gluttony – You cannot control your food appetites, which cause you to dangerously overeat.


Self-control is probably one of the most difficult fruit to see manifest.  Self-control is about denying the flesh always and allowing yourself to be ruled and controlled not by self, but by the Holy Spirit.  And while this is not easy, the more you practice it, as with anything else, the less daunting a task it becomes.  It was not very long ago that I could have been Peter’s twin sister when it came to wrath and a lack of self-control.  But I amaze even myself now with my ability to walk away from and avoid confrontations altogether.  This ability I know is not of my own doing or creating. Trust me; if I had my way and let my flesh rule, I would be under arrest and serving time in jail for assault more often than I would be walking around free.  But I am learning daily; let me repeat that word: DAILY to die to the flesh and allow my Spirit to have more control.  Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.” Denying your flesh and following Christ will get you closer to being like John the Baptist and further and further away from being the old, uncontrollable Peter (and the old me). 


Proverbs 25:28, A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.


Titus 2:11-12, For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in thispresent age.

Contact Janice Jones at

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