Self-Control – A Word Study – Day 2

Self-Control n.
control or restraint of oneself or one’s actions, feelings, etc.
syn. self-discipline, self-restraint, willpower, levelheadedness

Today’s Verse: Acts 24:25

  • But Felix was frightened when Paul started talking to them about doing right, about self-control, and about the coming judgment. So he said to Paul, “That’s enough for now. You may go. But when I have time I will send for you.” [CEV]
  • As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” [NIV]
  • And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. [KJV]
  • But as he continued to argue about uprightness, purity of life (the control of the passions), and the judgment to come, Felix became alarmed and terrified and said, Go away for the present; when I have a convenient opportunity, I will send for you. [Amplified]

In Context:
Paul was in prison awaiting trial for blasphemy — a charge leveled by the Sanhedrin. Felix was the provisional governor in charge of the case. History records Felix as being a ruthless governor “who practiced every kind of cruelty and lust*”. Felix kept Paul in prison for two years. Biblical scholars surmise that his reluctance to release Paul was motivated by his need to curry favor from the Jews, while his unwillingness to find Paul guilty may have been prompted by conscience, but it was more likely Felix was waiting for a bribe.

Biblical & Contemporary Connotations:
We don’t much like hearing about our failings, be they in self-control or any other aspect of our lives,  and we would rather flee than face our shortcomings.

Journal Response:
My first response when somebody points out one of my faults is to defend it.  I much prefer thinking I am perfect and that everybody loves me just the way I am — unfortunately, that isn’t very realistic.

I am naturally very reflective and always have been.  I’d like to think that gives me an advantage in the area of character development, but that could be just another of my self-delusions.  {Perhaps a Word Study on “false pride” is also in order.}  At any rate, no matter how well or poorly I respond when criticized, I do try to find the strength to examine the accusation.

Sometimes my examinations aren’t too healthy.  I use whatever accusation was leveled at me to kindle an indignant fire in my heart and I seethe, making up nasty comebacks and hateful, hurting things I wish I had said in response.  On the other hand I sometimes just accept the charges as they were leveled and mentally beat myself with them.  Usually, either of these responses, despite being self-destructive, feels pretty good.  I feel more self-righteous when I suffer the slings and arrows of others — but it isn’t productive.

While writing the above it dawned on me that self-control and self-esteem are Siamese twins and one cannot be separated from the other.  Without self-control, I have no foundation upon which to build good self-esteem; and without good self-esteem, I cannot grow better self-control.  Oh my.  This may take more thought.  Does anyone else have any ideas to add?

When I do manage to calm myself down enough to evaluate the acquisitions leveled against my character, I usually start by asking why the accusation was made.  Was the person who confronted me trying to help me or hurt me?   Next, I ask myself why I am angry — is my pride hurt, or my “I’m perfect” feelings? Until I get a handle on the why and what of someone’s claim against me, I cannot begin to access whether or not the person confronting me has a valid point.

If I come to the conclusion that the person confronting me doesn’t have a valid point, my self-examination can end.  If however — as is usually the case — the accusation has cause and substance, then I have work to do.  First off, I probably need to apologize.  Then, me being me, I will sit down and make a mental checklist to keep me from following the same path again.  However –thankfully — more often than not, just having an unconcious fault brought into the light, examined and identified for what it is, defeats it with barely a relapse.

The problem comes when a fault we’ve made into a habit and claimed as a virtue is challenged.  For instance, I have been struggling for years to identify the proper point at which to stop eating.  FULL is too much.  Not hungry is the place one should stop eating.  How does one find that place when all their thoughts, attitudes and comforts have been built upon full?


Just because my self-control issue at the moment is weight-loss, doesn’t mean your self-control issue has to be the same.  If you have something of value to add to this meditation, please do so!

Heavenly Father, I feel there is further revelation just out of my grasp.  Help me to better understand my jumbled thoughts as I process this Bible reading.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

*Tacitus, ancient Roman writer

This entry was posted on Monday, August 17th, 2009 at 8:00 am and is filed under inspirational, Word Study. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Self-Control – A Word Study – Day 2”

  1. August 19th, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Southlakesmom says:

    This is insightful. . . and useful to me. I love how the Lord speaks to us in all manner of ways, technologies, and through friends we’ve never met.

    Philippians 1:3

    Thank you!

  2. August 19th, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Charlene says:

    SLM — This seemed insightful to you? It is still a jumble to me. I have so many thoughts revolving around this verse that I don’t make any sense to me. I don’t know how I made sense to someone else — but I know that God does stuff like that all the time so I offer him praises for whatever you took away from here in a coherent manner!