Berean Studies / Ber04 - Temperance And Self-Control
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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?
1Co 9:27; F600 ¶1; F488 ¶2; F489 ¶1; R2878 col. 1 ¶3, 4;
(1Co 9:27) But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
But although the old will was thus renounced thoroughly and forever, and declared dead (by the Lord and by all who view matters from his standpoint), and while the flesh was reckoned dead, too, as respects sin, but alive toward God, quickened by the promises, and brought under the control of the new will (Rom. 6:11; 8:11), nevertheless this death of the flesh and its will, and this resurrection of the flesh as the servant of the new will, to serve the Lord, the Truth, under the Golden Rule, are only reckoned matters. The "dead" and "alive" conditions need continually to be maintained by opposition of the new will to any life or activity of the old will and its influence over the flesh. If the new will becomes indifferent and fails to use the mortal flesh continuously as its servant in higher and spiritual things, the flesh will very shortly reassert itself and have motions and desires of its own, antagonistic to the new mind, opposed to the interests of the New Creature. The latter must, therefore, be constantly on the alert for insurrections, and, as the Apostle expresses it, must keep down, keep dead, the old will, with its affections and its desires--must continually mortify, or put to death, the ambitions and desires of the flesh. The Apostle explains this, saying of himself, "I keep my body under [dead, as respects all control from the old, selfish will of the flesh], lest after having preached to others I myself should become a castaway"--might fail to make my calling and election sure. 1 Cor. 9:27
In view of these facts it will be readily seen that the new will has an arduous task before it: (1) To please God in the accomplishment of the sacrifice of the flesh; (2) to discern distinctly which appetites and demands of the fleshly relationship should be considered and allowance made for them; (3) to what extent these demands and concessions may properly be made without infringing upon and invalidating the covenant--which is unto life or unto death-- "For if we live after the flesh we shall die; but if through the Spirit we do mortify [kill] the flesh we shall live"--eventually attain perfection in the resurrection. Here arises another difficulty. The flesh does not voluntarily die: it must be put to death by the will, the mind, the New Creature; and so, finding that there are certain allowances to be made, according to the will of God, the flesh is very apt to take advantage of these allowances, and to claim not only greater allowance than the "things needful," but also liberties and rights along lines which are not obligations, and which would be interferences with the covenanted sacrifice.
These endeavors of our mortal bodies, sometimes to excuse sin and sometimes to avoid sacrifice, cause the New Creature frequent perplexity, and not infrequently temporary stumbling; until gradually he learns more and more of the deceptiveness of his own flesh and of its weaknesses, and gradually grows in grace and in the wisdom which comes from above, and obtains more and more of a mastery in keeping the body "under"--in subjection to the new mind. (1 Cor. 9:27) Thus, by bitter experience often, the New Creature learns to appreciate the declaration of the Lord's Word, that the natural heart, the will of the flesh, although slain, and not in any sense of the word in control, is "deceitful above all things" and, sometimes, "desperately wicked," and desperately in earnest in its endeavor to overthrow the rule of the new will, and thus to destroy the New Creature-- to the intent that the old creature may revive, and walk after the flesh, and not after the Spirit.
R2878 c1 p3,4
All those who have had any experience in the matter, and who have learned how and where to direct their combative energies, find that there is full scope for the exercise of every particle of combativeness he possesses. (1) In himself, continually; as the Apostle expressed it, "I keep my body under, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (`1 Cor. 9:27`). O, how much of energy and how much persistency in fighting the good fight of faith, and of loyalty to the Lord, is needful in the conquering of self--"bringing every thought [and so far as possible, every word and act] into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (`2 Cor. 10:5`). Plenty of room here for combativeness; plenty of room for all the contention and wrangling we want;--contention with sin and self-will, wrangling with the will of the flesh and opposing it at every step--mortifying it, killing its affections and desires. No wonder the Apostle speaks of these present experiences as a fight; no wonder he tells us that we must be prepared to endure hardness as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(2) As soon as the victory over self has been gained, and as soon as the new mind has put a garrison in every quarter of the conquered body, to guard it from rising in insurrection, to hold it in subjection to the King of kings and Lord of lords--forthwith all the remaining energies that can be spared from self-control will find ample opportunity for usefulness in battling for the Lord, battling for the brethren, battling for the truth, battling against error, battling against all the wiles of the devil, "for we are not ignorant of his devices," as the Apostle declares.
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?
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?