In his bookRisky Living, Keys To Inner Healing, the late Jamie Buckingham related the following story about himself:
"At church, I had a vivid illustration of just how devoid of spiritual things most of my subconscious actually was. I was in the process of growing a beard, and it was just beginning to take on some kind of personality of its own, looking less and less each day like I had smeared peanut butter on my face and wrapped my jaws in briers. I was standing in the vestibule, talking to one of the elders, when an old friend walked up, and with a practical joker's look, reached out, grabbed a pinch of whisker under my chin--and yanked.
I reacted violently--with a clenched fist. He danced back, laughing and pointing to my fist, already up in a fighting position. ‘Scratch the surface of the lamb and find a wolf,' he chuckled, to my embarrassment. I was chagrined, not that I reacted (for a man will always react to pain), but that I had reacted with closed fists.
My friend had broken the surface of my consciousness, and revealed a Christless area where self reigned supreme."
Galatians 5:22, 23 states, "But the fruit of the Spirit is...self-control (temperance)." The Greek word is egkrateia which means "possessing power, strong, having mastery or possession of." It is used in 1 Corinthians 7:9 of the control of sexual desire. In 1 Corinthians 9:25, it is used of the control of an athlete over his body and its desires, during a period in which he is in training for the games. The word thus refers to the mastery of one's own desires and impulses. The context in which it is found indicates what particular desire or impulse is meant.
Proverbs 25:28 warns, "A man without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken down walls" (The Livng Bible).
Years ago, during a national playoff game, the Los Angeles Dodgers played the Philadelphia Phillies. Burt Hooten was pitching. With two outs and two strikes against the batter, Burt threw the next pitch, confident that it was a strike. The umpire called it a ball. Hooten became furious, and the Philadelphia fans loved it! They went crazy.
Showing your feelings at an away game is like dropping blood in shark infested waters. Burt became rattled, walking the next four batters. Later he told the press, "Some pitchers are knocked out by batters, and some are taken out by the umpire. The crowd nor the opposing lineup didn't knock me off the mound.
Only one guy knocked me out. Hooten booted Hooten out! I learned a lesson that every professional has to learn again and again. Only we can knock ourselves out."
Dave Arnold, Pastor,
Gulf Coast Worship Center, New Port Richey , Florida