As we conclude our Winter Bible Study we embrace the goal of our efforts, two things we probably struggle the most with, gentleness and self-control. In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus used these two words to describe himself, “I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest for your souls.” As a final look at our passage we will explore Self-control. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Welcome back to the last installment of our Winter Bible Study. This week we see the ultimate goal of what we have been discussing, self-control. When we put it all together we realize that self-control is a very good character trait to possess, we are truly Christ-like. We have been looking at Galatians 5:19-23 and have focused on the last part of verse 22 and 23, one word at a time.
Galatians 5:22-23; But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
We have developed several resources that will help us be in control of ourselves; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. Possessing those character traits will lead us to a self-controlled lifestyle. Self-control implies that we have different trains of thought running around in our heads and we have developed the awareness to select the one that is best for those around us. The one that will build the strongest and longest lasting relationships.
We don’t have to look far to see what self-control, or lack thereof, looks like at the track. Truth be told, that is why we are there, to help others display self-control and when they don’t, to help sort things out and get back to racing. When our passion and desires overflow, we get caught up in the moment and we lose sight of what really matters. Just this past weekend I saw some of that overflow take place at Florence Motor Speedway. It happens and we are there to help reestablish control and calm things down. It is said we are there to help people keep their heads on straight.
Sometimes we understand our difficulty with self-control and take steps to minimize that inability to keep ourselves from getting in serious trouble. Thompson Speedway’s 5/8-mile oval has seen its share of overflowing emotions. Several stories come to mind, but one displays the understanding of the inability to keep their emotions under check.
There was a Sunoco Modified team that every time they rolled their pit cart into the infield they traveled all the way down to the far end of pit road leaving a large gap between them and the next pit crew. Now that took some effort. The far end of pit road was usually for the cars that ran in the back of the field, but this was a championship team and contended for victories every time they were on the track. I had to ask why.
The crew chief rubbed his chin and with a sparkle in his eye he said it is for two reasons. First, if someone wants to “discuss” something face to face we will see them coming. Second, by the time they get there they will be so tired that they won’t be able to physically get their point across.
Those are wise words to follow when you are struggling with self-control. Make sure there is a buffer between us and those who might be the victim of our inability to control ourselves. I am not saying this is an excuse not to develop self-control, but it is a good technique to have in place while we learn. We are not there yet and we need to be honest with ourselves, understanding who we are and how we can work on developing the character of God.
We begin the learning process when we identify where we are lacking. No matter what the character trait is, when we realize our lack of it we begin the journey to attain it. That is the second word Jesus used to describe His way, humble. Self-control shows an understanding of humility. Humility helps us realize that we all fall short of the goal and need to learn things.
In the same way being gentle reveals our shortcomings, humility does the same. Being humble implies that we understand the magnitude of the transition. Being humble means we understand the road ahead is long. Being humble shows an understanding of failure, mistakes, and shortcomings. Being humble means we know the forgiveness of our Lord and Savior. Being humble reveals we know the presence of God in our lives.
Matthew 11:28-30; NLT; Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Self-control requires everything we talked about over the last several weeks. It is the culmination of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. Self-control means our first thought isn’t about us, it is about the other person. It is a conscious decision to let their situation control our response. It is the most challenging thing we can engage in. Why? Because many times displaying self-control means you have to sacrifice. When we are willing to sacrifice our own wants, desires, needs and opinions, we have done well to imitate Christ.
Philippians 2:5-8; NLT; 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6 Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
More than anything else, self-control demonstrates a willingness to put ourselves aside and serve others, letting others dictate to us and follow along displaying the fruits of the Spirit. When we become proficient at that, people will see a servant’s heart, the same heart our Lord and Savior has. They will see Jesus in us.
Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.