When observing the construction of a building, the scafolding that supports the workers as they establish the foundation of the structure is apparent. The scafolding for the construction of an archway is especially unique. When an archway is constructed a temporary scafolding or framework is built under the archway before the construction can even begin. This temporary structure, called “Centering,” holds the weight of the arch.
As Christians, our weight bearing support system, the structure that was developed before we began the construction of our own life, is Christ. He is our “Centering.” As we journey through life, we should focus on our center and allow our weight to rest on Christ. He is rooted as our foundation. Just like the arch or the dome, when we are centered, we become well balanced and confident in the support we have in Christ.
While Christ molds and forms us, He is holding us up, keeping us stable and preventing us from falling. He will not remove Himself from our lives until we can bear our own weight, which is when we enter into eternal life with Him through our salvation in Him. When we realize that God can lift us up better than we can hold ourselves up, we must surrender to Him. We must let our own desires die, thus die to self in order to let Him lead and guide us.
By allowing Christ to mold us, we have set our own desires aside and asked Jesus to take over our aspirations, our control, our life. We’re fully relying on Him to support us. We have the confidence in our own self to control our desires and actions as we serve Him by offering ourselves to Him. Self-control is being in charge of our actions to assure that they are honorable and do not take us off track, off our Centering.
Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.
It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to seek one’s own honor.
Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.
Proverbs 25: 26-28
Self-control is exercising restraint (with God’s strength) over our own impulses, desires, emotions and Satan’s temptations. If we look at Proverbs 25:26-28, we see three insights into self-control.
- Through self-control we are able to remain pure and clear of contamination. When we, as Christians, give in to Satan’s temptations, we become like pollution in a beautiful clear blue sky, or like polluted water or mud in a crisp, clean spring.
- Having self-control is knowing when enough is enough. For example, self-control is understanding when to stop eating sweets so we don’t get sick. It’s knowing when indulging in temptation and sin has pulled us far enough from Christ that if we take one more step further away we’ll become exhausted, lost or sick.
- Self-control is being able to guard our hearts, our spirit and our bodies. A man who lacks self-control has no protection from the outside world. Satan tempts us into sin when we lack self-control (1 Corinthians 7:5). When we lose our self-control, we’ve lost our foundation, we’ve lost our support and our strength, we’ve stepped away from God. He can only shield us when we stay by His side.
Titus 2:11-15 explains self-control as being able to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and influences while we wait for Christ’s return. But, we can only do this through the Grace of God who brings us salvation. Self-control is being holy and righteous. It’s pursuing a relationship with Christ and His will for our lives. Having self-control helps us keep our focus on Christ and the things of Christ and keeps us from being distracted.
For the Grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say, ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good
Now, we lose our ability to remain self-controlled every day. We give into temptation all the time, sometimes without even knowing. But, the more we practice self-control, the more we will be able to resist Satan and his ploy to separate us from God. This will not happen overnight, it’ll take time, and most importantly it‘ll take the strength of Christ. Remember, we are resting on Him. He will do the holding, lifting and building; we need to remain in Him.
As 2 Peter 1:5-9 says, “Self-control keeps one from being ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of Christ.” We can only say “No” to temptation and things that are not desired by God by learning what He desires for our life, by leaning on His will for our life and by developing a strong relationship with Himwe can discern between ungodliness and righteousness. Having self-control helps keep our focus on Christ, it helps us from being distracted and taken “off center.”