British statesman Edmund Burke argued, "men are able to be free only as they are able to put chains on their own appetites. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within people, the more there has to be in society. It is an eternal principle of things that men who have no self-control minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters (their lack of self-control makes the chains that bind them).
I know many of you have been to school. I suppose you remember having to try to arrange your schedule to get your homework and special projects done, as well as all the other activities. This was where you learned about self-control. You could let everything go till the last second, but if you did it became much more painful and you worried about it the whole time until you got it done. One day you decided to get your work done ahead of time and you found out that not only did you have free time on your hands, but you didn't have the worry anymore either.
Self-control also goes over into the area of appetite. I am talking about appetite not just for food but everything in life. If we let our appetites get the best of us, we lose freedom. If we eat too much food we get fat and are not able to do some things we used to do when we were slim.
You Can't Run the Country If You Can't Run Yourself
During his term as President of the U.S., Lyndon Johnson was somewhat overweight. One day his wife challenged him with this blunt observation: "You can't run the country if you can't run yourself." Respecting Mrs. Johnson's wise observation, the President lost 23 pounds.
If we take drugs, we get hooked and sick. It even goes for small things. If women wear too much makeup, people get used to seeing them that way and they find they can no longer go without it. If young people start buying expensive clothes then they naturally start hanging out with kids who also buy expensive clothes. The problem is that now they have lost the freedom to wear cheap clothes because they will lose their friends.
This also applies to spiritual things. If we get an appetite for dirty movies where there is sex, filthy language, violence, we soon find ourselves thinking more about those things than about God and His Word. Those images color our whole life and the enemy is able to use them to tempt us to sin. If we get an appetite to listen to and spread gossip about people pretty soon that gossip turns around and hurts us. We lose our witness and we get critical towards other people, and soon our relationship with the Lord suffers. We find that we cannot forgive others, and so how can we expect the Lord to forgive us?
How to Demonstrate Self-Control
Refuse to allow other family members to provoke you to anger.
Never discipline in anger.
Look for ways to serve other family members rather than yourself.
Purpose never to raise your voice in anger in the home.
Purpose ahead of time that you will stand alone for what is right and refuse to compromise.
Refuse to participate in harmful habits.
Choose to walk away from questionable activities.
Don't allow anger to destroy the effectiveness of your witness.
Reject gossip about church leaders and other church members. If someone has private sin in their lives,