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Bible verses about Self Mastery
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Self-mastery ("soberly" in NKJV) is self-government or self-control, the foundation of a strong godly life, growth, and producing fruit. If a person cannot govern himself, if he cannot master his passions, he will certainly not have a good relationship with his fellowman or God. His life will likely be marked by major excesses.

The biblical writers use this word in various ways: to behave in an orderly manner, to be sober, serious, sane, sound-minded, discreet, self-disciplined, prudent, and moderate. In context of a person controlling himself, Paul writes, "For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3; see Titus 2:6; I Peter 4:7).

A person who has self-mastery is even-handed, and his passions are under control. He makes proper use of his drives and desires, and his manner of life is not one of extremes. A person reflecting this quality will be making steady progress in growing into the perfectly balanced character of Jesus Christ.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Five Teachings of Grace


 

Numbers 11:2-4

This passage expresses what motivates the rest of the story in chapter 11: They yielded to an intense craving. Have we ever had intense cravings? Was there a time when our taste buds were watering away for a piece of chocolate, a sundae, a piece of cake, pie ala mode, or maybe a nice filet mignon? Everybody has, but in most cases something stops us. We either do not have the money or the time or we are not in a place where we can fulfill our desire.

But we should not stop considering this with the desires that emanate from the stomach and taste buds. We desire a lot of things: nice clothing, nice homes, nice automobiles. We desire a husband or a wife. All sorts of desires can become so intense that they begin to drive our lives.

When we get into that kind of an attitude, we will begin to find that our desire is not only dominating our thinking, it is making us do what we do and say what we say. Chances are, if we fail to control it, we will begin to take advantage of situations to satisfy our overwhelming desire. We will take advantage of people, if need be, to satisfy it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Passover and I Corinthians 10


 

Proverbs 25:28

We see a good example of self-control implied in Proverbs 25:28: "Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls." No specific Hebrew word in this sentence means "self-control," but "rule" certainly implies it. In its comments on this verse, the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible states:

The picture is that of a city whose walls have been so nearly destroyed as to be without defense against an enemy; so is the man who has no restraint over his spirit, the source of man's passionate energies. He has no defense against anger, lust, and the other unbridled emotions that destroy the personality. (vol. 4, p. 267)

Proverbs 16:32 shows a more positive side of self-control: "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city." Here Solomon uses an entirely different word for "rule," but the sense of self-control remains. A comparison of the two proverbs reveals the great importance of self-control as both an offensive and defensive attribute.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control


 

Ecclesiastes 7:8

Solomon's approach is not with God in mind as our example, but that patience is prudent in our dealings with others and events. Solomon shows patience to be a very valuable attribute that brings us success in endeavors and favor in other's eyes. We should not dismiss patience's value because of this more secular perspective because it has definite, overlapping spiritual value as well.

It is interesting that Solomon connects impatience to pride. He observes that the impatient haughtily seize on something before its conclusion is worked out, while the patient see a thing to its end and are rewarded. Does this principle not apply to God working with us?

Proverbs 14:29 holds a similar thought: "He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly." Patience grows from a combination of faith, hope, love, and self-control. As these two proverbs and many more reveal, we should cultivate patience because it shows understanding and because it is wise. Wisdom produces success, and being successful in glorifying God is what life is all about.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Patience


 

Hosea 4:1

How can he prophesy something like this when we have churches on every corner? The reality is that they do not know God. They know about God. They believe in the existence of a god, but they are not really acquainted with God. They do not really love God or fear Him because, if they did, the sins we see occurring so rampantly in our society would not be happening. If they truly feared Him, they would have enough respect to restrain themselves, regardless of what anybody else did.

And that is the solution to the problem! Each individual must restrain himself regardless of whether he sits on the throne, is in Parliament or Congress, is on the Supreme Court, is a doctor or nurse, a policeman, athlete, entertainer, or whatever. Everyone's responsibility is to restrain himself. It is not the responsibility of the police but of the individual. We will never live in a society without violence, corruption, thievery, rape, without illegitimacy until individuals take it upon themselves to restrain themselves and live within the limits of the law of God because they fear God.

The problem is right here—the problem is with me and you, the individual. The problem is not Joseph Stalin or Adolf Hitler. People have to begin to look to themselves for the solution. As the song says, "Let it begin with me," and then it will begin to stop.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Handwriting Is on the Wall (1995)


 

1 Corinthians 9:27

In the New Testament, the most common Greek word for self-control (temperance, KJV) is enkrateia. Its root meaning is "power over oneself" or "self-mastery." Self-control, in its widest sense, is mastery over our passions. It is the virtue that holds our appetites in check, controlling our rational will or regulating our conduct without being duly swayed by sensuous desires. Moderation is a key element in self-control.

Martin G. Collins
Self-Control


 

2 Timothy 1:6-7

According to Strong's Concordance, the final word of verse 7 is a noun meaning "discipline" or "self-control." Most modern translations render it as "self-control," but "sensible," "sobriety," "self-discipline," "self-restraint," "wise discretion," and "sound judgment" are also used.

God gives His Spirit to us to begin the spiritual creation that will bring us into His very image. Here, Paul ranks self-control right beside seemingly more "important" attributes of our Creator, such as courage, power, and love. Remember, however, that the "fruit" of God's Spirit is written in the singular; it is one fruit, a balanced package needed to make a son of God whole.

These verses tell us what kind of men God is creating. Men of courage, power, and love - and men who are self-governing, sensible, sober, restrained, and disciplined in their manner of life. These qualities are products of God's Spirit in us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control


 

2 Timothy 2:1-5

Does that not picture someone who is striving to finish at the top, striving to win, to be the best that he possibly can? He does not desire to be just an "also ran," one of the pack, but to be somebody whom God looks upon as worth watching.

We have to put this in relation to what God wants us to be. Does He not want us to glorify Him by being as much like Him and Jesus Christ as possible? That is what real mastery is! Within the context, mastery is to be like Christ.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 22)


 

Titus 2:1-6

These instructions are an overall exhortation for the various age groups to hold to a sense of duty with regard to their conduct. But none of the instructions given here should be ignored simply because they are not addressed directly to an individual's sex or age group. For example, Paul says "girls should be discreet and modest." Does this mean, then, because it is addressed to girls that a fellow may be as indiscreet and immodest as he wants because he is male? Simply because the fellows are not mentioned does not excuse them from being discreet and modest as well. In an overall sense, God is telling all of us—parents, young people, male, female—to be sane, sober-thinking, serious about our responsibilities, exercising self-control, curbing our passions, and aiming for self-mastery.

There is a proverb that teaches: "He that rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." Ruling one's spirit involves self-discipline. Self-discipline is willing yourself to do the right, regardless of feelings. It may not be glamorous, but it is the stuff of life.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sanctification and the Teens


 

Titus 2:11-14

For the grace of God has appeared to save all men, and it schools us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions and to live a life of self-mastery, of integrity, and of godliness in this present world, awaiting the blessed hope of the appearance of the Glory of the great God and of our Savior Christ Jesus, who gave Himself up for us to redeem us from all iniquity and secure Himself a clean people, with a zest for good deeds. (Moffatt Translation)

One reason God has given us grace is for us to express self-control. It is hard to imagine a Christian, preparing for the Kingdom of God, who does not strive for continual and resolute self-government, that is, one who allows his passions, tastes, and desires unbridled freedom to express themselves. That is what the world does! When we witness such a demonstration, it gives strong evidence that the person is unconverted. Blind passion is not meant to be our guide. If men live guided by their animal passions, they will land in the ditch because "God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control


 

Titus 2:12

Self-mastery is self-government, self-control. A person who has self-mastery is a disciplined person, one who has his life in order. The first thing that a person has to accomplish when he begins to rid his life of evil is to get his own life in harness. Because, if we cannot control ourselves, we are sunk! The rest of the growth process will not follow. It all begins with mastering number one.

The thought in Ephesians 4 is that every part of the body has to contribute to the unity of the whole. How does one contribute to the church's unity? By making sure that one is growing, by letting grace teach us, by consciously responding to it.

Self-mastery can be even more strictly defined as "sober," which is how it is translated in the King James and New King James versions. This is a direct translation of the Greek word. In addition, it could also be translated as "sane"! Does this not indicate that before grace comes into our lives, we are all somewhat insane? Indeed, it does! Grace teaches us how to be sane—sound-minded! This is a looser translation, but it still fits.

This word also appears in Greek literature as "discreet," "self-discipline," "to behave in an orderly manner," "to be prudent," and "to be moderate," depending on the context.

We find it in the Bible in such places as Romans 12:3; Titus 2:6; and I Peter 4:7. It always suggests a person who is even-handed and has his passions under control, one who makes proper use of his drives and desires. This implication connects perfectly with the Christian work of getting rid of worldly passions. This word describes a person in whom there are no extremes in his or her manner of life. In the religious or spiritual sense, it means one who is making steady progress in growing into the balance of Jesus Christ. Someone who is not doing these things will be divisive because he is serving himself.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Titus 2:11-14


 

James 3:2

We all make mistakes—and probably a majority of them are verbal. The challenge before us is to learn to control our words and use them effectively in dealing with others. For followers of Christ, "effective use of words" is using them as Christ and the Father do. If we do anything less, we stumble and run the risk of offending.

So great is this challenge that, if we can master our tongue, we have in essence come to master our entire bodies. We could conclude from this that our bodies function as they are instructed. We instruct our bodies and minds through words, whether spoken or thought. In other words, the mind speaks, and the body follows. We lead ourselves, as well as others, with our words.

Staff
Are You Sharp-Tongued? (Part One)


 

 




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