Watch this video before starting the audio and proceeding
1. I think that it is safe to say that the majority of the problems we face are usually a result of a lack of self-control
2. Why is it that we spend too much time in front of the Television?
3. Why is it that we spend money that we don’t have?
4. Why is it that we eat too much and exercise too little?
5. Why is it that we get angry too quickly?
6. Why do we say things that we regret?
7. Why do so many give into sexual temptation?
8. The answer is, a lack of self-control
9. Why is it that some people give into these temptations and others do not?
a. Is it because some are not tempted? No!
b. It is because some have enough self-control to overcome the temptation
A. Athletics demonstrate the need for self-control
1. To be a successful athlete requires a great deal of self-control
a) An athlete has to put in a great deal of time training to be good
b) Many times, this training is done independently - when there is not coach watching, they have to get up the motivation to go and work out
c) Olympic caliber athletes devote their whole lives to their sport
a) The word for "temperate" in verse 25, actually means "self-control"
b) The athlete exercises self-control to gain a perishable crown
c) The Christian is to exercise self-control to gain an imperishable crown - James 1:12
d) We have even more motivation than an athlete
B. Think of yourself as a city
1. Whoever has no rule over his own spirit Is like a city broken down, without walls - Proverbs 25:28
2. Walls were the primary form of defense for a city - a city would not stand without it’s walls
3. Walls kept bad things out and protected those inside
4. Walls had to be complete, without gaps or holes
5. A person with no self-control will not stand
a) Self-control is what will keep the "bad things" out of our lives
b) Without self-control, sin will rule us
C. Realize that it is either kill or be killed - Romans 8:13
1. It is either kill or be killed
2. If we are ruled by our fleshly appetites and desires, we will die
3. If we put to death our fleshly desires (exercise self-control), then we will live
4. - Galatians 5:22-24
5. - Galatians 2:20
6. - Romans 6:6-7
D. Self-control does not just happen
1. It is not a miraculous gift
2. We have to work at it. That is what Paul is saying - 1 Corinthians 9:27
A. Install Guardrails
a) What is Jesus teaching here?
b) In a rather graphic way, Jesus is saying that we ought to remove whatever it is in our lives that is causing us to sin
2. It is never good to run off the road and hit guardrails. However, it is vastly preferable to running of the road and going into a river or off a cliff
3. We need to set up some barriers or guardrails in our lives so that when temptation arises, we are going to bump into these guardrails
4. Not going to feel good to hit guardrails. But it is preferable to running completely off the road
5. Examples of guardrails…
a) Make yourself accountable to someone
(1) Let someone you trust know that you have a problem in a certain area
(2) Ask that person to correct you when they see you going down that road
b) Make it so that you are not put into a place where the temptation is present
(1) If you struggle with pornography… Have someone you trust put parental controls on your computer
(2) If you struggle with sexual desires, make it a rule that you won’t put yourself in a room alone with the opposite sex (always a good idea)
c) The overall idea is that if you know you have a problem or weakness, find a way to make it so that the situation never arises where you are tempted to give in
B. Contextualize the Choice you are making
1. Simply put, this is realizing the consequences of your choices
2. For example, realize that, "If I say ‘yes’ to gossip; I am saying ‘no’ to God"
3. Realize that you don’t live in a vacuum
a) Your choices to give into those things which are sinful affect your relationship with God
b) Your choices affect your relationship with your neighbors
c) For example: adultery
(1) Puts you at odds with God
(2) Puts your partner in adultery at odds with God as well
(3) Puts you at odds with your spouse
(4) Puts you at odds with your children
4. Joseph is a great example. He realized that saying "yes" to Potiphar’s wife would be saying, "no" to God and to Potiphar - Genesis 39:8-9
5. This is the basic idea of Mark 3:25. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand
1. Often, people say, "I really struggle with this or that"
2. What do we mean when we say this?
a) Do we mean that we are really fighting this temptation and haven’t given up?
b) Or do we mean that we continually give in to this temptation and we have just resigned ourselves to the fact that we will always give in to it?
3. Are we using the word "addiction" as an excuse?
4. We need to continue to struggle
5. Self-control is always going to be a struggle - Don’t give up - 1 Corinthians 9:27
D. Lean on God
E. Think Delayed Gratification
1. God has promised us that if we say "no" to sin now, that He will give us a much better reward later
2. Yet, most want that instant gratification
3. Marshmallow Test
4. How many of us are like these kids?
a) We sniff the marshmallow
b) We take little bites of the marshmallow
c) We lick the marshmallow
d) We maul the marshmallow and then put it back on the plate
e) Notice also, though that in the video we saw Guardrails, Contextualization, and Struggle
5. When temptation is before us, we must realize that we’ll get something better if we wait
6. This works with…
a) Sexual temptation - Will mean much more if you wait till your married
b) Eating - Delay gratification and you will lose weight
7. Moses did this - Hebrews 11:25-26
1. When it comes to dealing with temptation, self-control is the key
2. Either we will control our desires or our desires will control us and thus make us a slave of sin
3. Let’s put these steps into action:
a. Establish guardrails
b. Contextualize our choices
d. Lean on God
e. Think delayed gratification
4. Anything we might have to give up here, will be as nothing when we receive the reward waiting for us in heaven!