Exercising Knowledge Develops Self-Control

2 Peter 1:5-8 5For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence),    6And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety),    7And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.   8For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
The more knowledge you gain, the easier it will be to practice self-control in your life. In Paul’s letter to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7 he tells him- 7For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. What does self control mean? It is the ability to control your own behavior, especially in terms of reactions and impulses.  That is one of the many things we can admire about Jesus. He never reacted, never acted impulsively. He only acted in such a way that His Heavenly Father would be glorified. I think of the time when Jesus was in the garden and the soldiers came to arrest Him. Luke 22:50-51 shows us 50And one of them struck the bond servant of the high priest and cut off his ear, the right one. 51But Jesus said, Permit them to go so far [as to seize Me]. And He touched the little (insignificant) ear and healed him. Peter reacted, but Jesus simply acted- He healed the man and essentially said go ahead and take me with you.

What does this have to do with knowledge? Self-control is one of the Fruit of the Spirit. The more knowledge you gain about the things of God, the more you will change the way you act to conform to His Word. Let’s say you learned about walking in love. How we are to love one another as Jesus loved us. If you have that knowledge the next time someone mistreats you will you react in a negative way or will you exercise self-control and love that person anyway? If you have knowledge of the Word you will at least consider doing what it says, even if at times you don’t exercise as much restraint as you should. As long as we keep learning what God says, and applying it to our lives we will be more like Jesus and bring glory to our Heavenly Father through our actions.

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