How do we teach “self-control”? Self-control was so important that it was the only virtue Titus was required to teach the “younger men” (i.e., the “inexperienced, immature,” and, by implication, typically impulsive men).
Maturity, not age, is the issue. It seems that human nature is the same everywhere. Young men tend to be impulsive, selfish, easily angered, emotional, and sometimes arrogant, getting themselves into many kinds of trouble and being lured by a variety of temptations.
When these men bear the name of Christ, His reputation is at risk.
In Titus 2:6, Titus is to “continually be encouraging” (or “aid, help, exhort, beseech”) the immature. He is primarily to teach these values to “show [himself] in all respects to be a model of good works and in [his] teaching show [to] integrity, dignity” (2:7).
Coaches spend considerable time teaching their athletes to be self-controlled, lest their anger or reactions ruin the team effort or eliminate them from games. Paul wrote, “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things” (1 Cor 9:25).
Ephesians 5:18 tells us not to exalt losing control of ourselves. The command “not [to] be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation, but [to] be filled with the Spirit” does not compare drunkenness with being filled with the Spirit; rather, the word “but” introduces a contrast or an opposite concept. Drunkenness is wicked because it causes us to lose self-control.
In contrast, by the filling of the Spirit, the believer gains more self-control (Gal 5:22). Uncontrolled, impulsive reactions are characteristics of the immature, not the Spirit-filled, believer.
As young people experience their first taste of freedom, they face many decisions, just as new believers who understand the freedom of grace. Paul warns, “For you were called to freedom…only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence” (Gal 5:13).
Peter likewise urges, “As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil” (1 Pet 2:16). These principles should be learned early in life, especially in the family, and as a last result in the church ministries. In which areas do you need self-control?
“Lord, teach us to understand that we are all together in the struggle against sin and selfishness so that our encouragement to each other will be accepted by all.”