Berean Studies / Ber04 - Temperance And Self-Control
(Use your Browser's "Find" or "Search" option to search within this page)
Single Click a triangle below to see the references CT Russell selected for the associated question. The study questions (with the references) are also included as an attached Adobe PDF file at the bottom of this page.
1. What is the importance of self-control?
2. Is self-control necessary in the interest of others?
3. Are we to be ‘temperate in all things’?
4. Does self-control imply purification of the thoughts and intents of the heart?
5. Does temperance or self-control apply to our language?
6. Does self-control extend to business affairs?
7. Why is temperance necessary in our eating and drinking?
8. Should we be temperate in our joys as well as in our sorrows?
9. Is it possible to be intemperate in studying the Scriptures and in attending religious meetings?
10. What is the relation of the ‘new will’ toward the control of the flesh?
11. What is the duty of the Church toward those ‘new creatures’ who are lacking in self-control?
12. Why is self-control an essential qualification in an Elder ?
13. Why is it important that parents exercise self-control?
Col 3:21; F526 ¶1; F527 ¶1; F528 ¶1, 2; F530 ¶1, 2
(Col 3:21) Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
It is scarcely necessary to admonish the New Creation that they should not use angry or harsh words to their children; for such know that language of that kind is improper to any one under any circumstances. On the contrary, their "speech should be with grace," with love, with kindness, even when reproving. Nor is it necessary to suggest to the class we are addressing the impropriety of a hasty blow, which might do injury to the child not only physically-- perhaps permanently injuring its hearing--but also wound its affections, develop in it a fear of the parent instead of love, which should be considered the only proper groundwork on which the obedience and order of the home are built. Furthermore, the hasty blow or cutting remark would be wrong, would indicate a wrong condition of mind on the part of the parent--a condition unfavorable to a proper, just decision of the matter along the lines of the Law of Love. The parent owes it to himself as a part of his own discipline, as well as to his child, that he shall never inflict a punishment which he has not sufficiently considered, and coolly and dispassionately found to be not more, but less, than justice might properly demand. He owes it to himself also that the child shall fully understand the situation, the necessity for the preservation of order in the home, that the happiness of the home may continue to the blessing of all its inmates; that the child understand thoroughly also that the parent has no anger toward him, no malice, no hatred, nothing but sympathy and love and the desire to do him good.
Many parents forget to look backward and to note at how early an age they themselves learned to appreciate principles of righteousness--to appreciate the parental care which neglected not to reprove, to correct, and even to chastise as seemed necessary. Let us recall, too, how keen was our sense of justice when we were children--how we mentally approved parental discipline when we understood its motive to be for the development of character, but how we resented it if we did not see a principle of justice, if we were reproved or otherwise punished for things of which we were not guilty, or if we were punished beyond a reasonable chastisement comporting with the offense. Not only is it the best and surest way of controlling a child thus to direct its mind along the lines of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, justice and injustice, but this constitutes also a training of the child in character, when it is most susceptible to parental influence. It is character-building at a time when the conscience and judgment of the child are in their formative condition, and when it properly recognizes the parent as its sole lawgiver. If this work of character-building be ignored in infancy, the work is many times more difficult in future years, besides the disadvantages that will accrue both to parent and child and neighbors and friends in the interim.
It is all-important, then, to notice that the training of a child does not consist solely in teaching it respecting its outward deportment in politeness, cleanliness, obedience, etc., but further, and indeed chiefly, in the establishment of right principles in the heart--proper recognition there of the mind of the Lord as being the only standard of living, both for old and young. The Golden Rule, the Law of Love, of generosity, meekness, patience, gentleness, forbearance, should be inculcated as respects the child's relationship to other members of the family, to playmates, etc. The child that is taught to be selfish, or one whose natural selfishness is not brought kindly to his attention (though not in the presence of others) and lovingly reproved and corrected, is missing a most important lesson at the most opportune moment.
The parent who neglects such an opportunity for giving instructions and corrections of the mind and judgment, as well as of outward conduct, is not only missing the most favorable opportunity in respect to his child, but is allowing weeds to grow in the heart garden where only the graces of the spirit should grow; and is thus laying up more or less of trouble for himself in dealing with that child throughout future years. Many of the heartaches and tears of well-intentioned parents over the waywardness, wilfulness, selfishness and "wild oats" of their children might have been spared them had they done their duty by those children in infancy. Furthermore, such parents lose a great blessing in their own experiences; for it is undoubtedly true that the parent who is properly training his child in unselfishness, love, obedience, reverence to God, helpfulness to his fellow-creatures, etc., etc., will be getting valuable experiences for himself--growing in grace, growing in knowledge and growing in love, while endeavoring to teach these principles to his child. He will learn, too, that the child will expect to find him illustrating in his daily conduct and in his relationship to God and to the members of his family, and to his fellowmen, the principles he seeks to inculcate in others. This will make him the more careful of his own words, his own conduct; and such carefulness, such circumspection of all the little affairs of life, public and private, will assuredly develop in such a parent more and more of the graces of the Lord's Spirit, thus making him more and more acceptable to the Lord, and preparing and perfecting him for the Kingdom.
Contrast such a home, with its sweet odor of love, kindness, patience, gentleness, with the home in which the Lord's Spirit is not manifested--the home in which selfishness is the law, in which the child notes the quarrels between the parents, and how each seeks his own at the expense of the other, in which the child hears little but chiding, complaining, faultfinding, angry words, harsh sounds, etc. These become contagious amongst the children, and they in turn quarrel over their little affairs, speak angrily to each other, and keep the household in perpetual turmoil. The continued practice of selfishness in the home develops this organ in the mind and in the conduct of the child.
If in an angry voice the parent calls it "a little rascal," and the feelings of the child, at first hurt by such reflections against its character, become toughened, it gradually learns to glory in being a little rascal. When first it hears the angry and impatient mother exclaim, "I'll thrash you within an inch of your life!" or "I'll break your back!" no doubt there is a measure of terror conveyed by the words to the heart of the child, but it is not long in learning that these are idle threats, from which it has comparatively little to fear; and gradually as it learns that the civil laws of the land would not permit the parent to do it serious violence, the childish mind concludes that the parent had the will to do it evil, but simply lacked the liberty. From such a little mind much of the original instinct of love is driven out. It finds its parent equally untruthful in respect to promises-- that the promises are frequently given without the slightest intention of their fulfilment. Thus the child is taught to lie, to threaten, to promise, to deceive others in respect to its real intentions. Is there any wonder that such a child grows up a hard character? The wonder, rather, is that between the bad training, the indifferent training and no training at all the civilized world is not a great deal worse than it is.
14. How can suggestion be applied in teaching children self-control?
15. How can we cultivate self-control?
16. What other most important grace will naturally be developed by attaining a large measure of self-control?