SELF-DISCIPLINE

Although Christians are not under the law, they are under grace (Rom 6:14). Although they are not slaves to sin, they are slaves to righteousness (Rom 6:17-18). Although they are free from the law, they are not free to do as they please; they must live to please God (Rom 7:4-6; Eph 5:10; Col 1:10). Therefore, they must exercise self-discipline, or self-control. This self-control is not opposed to control by the Holy Spirit. On the contrary it is a quality that the Holy Spirit produces (Gal 5:22-23). Christians must make every effort to develop self-discipline (1 Cor 9:25-27; 2 Peter 1:5-6), and this self-discipline applies to every area of their lives: thoughts (2 Cor 10:5), feelings (Lev 19:17-18; 1 Peter 2:11), speech (Ps 39:1; James 3:7-8), eating and drinking habits (Prov 23:2,20; Amos 6:4-6; Eph 5:18), sexual behaviour (1 Cor 7:9; 1 Thes 4:4-5) and in fact any situation in which they find themselves (1 Thes 5:22-23). Such personal discipline is essential in the lives of all Christians, regardless of status, sex or age (1 Tim 3:2,11; Titus 1:7-8; 2:2-6). Self-discipline is necessary not only in avoiding what is wrong, but also in refraining from actions that in themselves may not be wrong at all. In certain circumstances Christians should deny themselves lawful freedoms out of consideration for others (Rom 14:15-16,20-22; 1 Cor 8:13; 10:23-24; see also DENY).

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