God’s expectations of us are high, and his word challenges us to keep growing. Peter writes, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge, self-control” (2 Pet. 1:5-6). Old-timers used to joke sometimes that the speaker had quit preaching and gone to meddling. Peter tells us to take responsibility for our own lives. Not a popular message in a world accustomed to having its own selfish way.
Self-control comes from the root word meaning power, rule, or dominion. The word employed by Peter is sparsely used in the New Testament. Instead of stressing human power, the Bible tells us we have strength through the Lord (Eph. 6:10; Phil. 4:13; Col. 1:11). However, Peter, Paul, and Luke use self-control a few times in reference to the restraint of sexual passion (2 Pet. 1:6; Gal. 5:23; Acts 24:25; 1 Cor. 7:9; Titus 1:8). Paul also uses the term when comparing the Christian life to one who uses self-restraint in training before running a race (1 Cor. 9:25).
In brief, the term self-control in its various forms tells us to get a grip on ourselves. We must refuse to be ruled by the devil and by passions.
To be a child of God is the greatest privilege we have, but we also have responsibility. May God bless us all as we work with his Spirit to develop the character the Father expects of his children. TC