There are a lot of things that you can’t control. But you can control your own actions and decisions, and that fact is very significant. Don’t underestimate the importance of what you choose to do or not do.
Because Jesus exercised perfect self-control, and because he lived sinlessly, He could be the perfect sacrifice necessary to take away our sins and give us the hope of Heaven. Jesus’ self-control mattered, and ours does too. Following Jesus’ perfect example can help us have greater self-control. Let’s look at some keys to Jesus’ sinless life.
First, Jesus was guided by love for his Father and and for us in all he did, not by selfish pride (Mat 22:37-40). May we likewise make selfless love for God and people our crowning virtue (Col 3:14).
Second, Jesus knew his actions mattered. He knew the salvation of humanity depended on his victory over sin. That knowledge surely motivated him to resist temptation. Eve ate the forbidden fruit when she listened to Satan’s lie that she would not surely die for doing so (Gen 3:4-6). Unlike Eve, we must not dismiss and ignore sin’s consequences. We must recognize and acknowledge the impact of our decisions and actions.
Third, Jesus’ faithful dedication to prayer (Lu. 5:15,16) helped him make good decisions (Lu. 6:12,13) and resist temptation (Mat. 26:39,42). If we’re going to make good decisions and overcome temptation, we likewise need to pray without ceasing (1Thess. 5:17)
Fourth, God’s word written on Jesus’ heart allowed him to resist Satan’s distortion of truth (Matt. 4:1-11). God’s word in our hearts is likewise our only defense against Satan’s lies and counterfeits.
Fifth, Jesus knew his purpose in this world (Lu. 19:10) and he lived faithfully to it (Joh 4:30-34). We need to be living purposefully too (Tit 3:8). It’s hard to do Satan’s mischief when we’re busy doing God’s good work (Matt. 12:30).
Sixth, Jesus selectively chose a small inner circle of close friends (Matt. 17:1). We need to carefully choose friends who will bring us closer to God (1Cor. 15:33; Heb. 10:24,25).
Seventh, Jesus knew which situations to get away from. He prudently withdrew from the crowd that wanted make him a king by force (Joh 6:15). When we’re facing temptation, we must take the way of escape that God provides (1Co 10:13).
Self-control is challenging, but it’s always possible. Let love for God and people guide your steps; know the importance of your choices; pray without ceasing; fill your heart with truth; fill your days with purposeful living; fill your life with godly friends; flee temptation; pursue godliness; and win an eternal victory. -Paul