The self-control of unbelievers is all tangled up with the will of Satan. He will convince them that they are in the driver*s seat when it is really him that is having his way. Sinning was first Satan*s way. Then it became the way of Adam and Eve and all of their descendants. When we were under Satan, our self-control was a delusion.John 8:44: Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
The self-control of believers is connected to the will of God. The connection may start small but it should grow. Self-control may work in fits and starts when we first become Christians but our self-control can become a steady and reliable servant of God. Exercising His self-control for good was first God*s way. When we become His children He makes controlling ourselves for good our way too.
Ephesians 6:6-8: Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
1 Corinthians 3:9a: For we are labourers together with God: . . .
Philippians 2:12-13: Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
1 Thessalonians 2:13: For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
Ephesians 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Romans 5:17: For if by one man*s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Reigning in life by Jesus Christ means exercising self-control for different purposes than we did when we were powerfully influenced by Satan. It means doing what is right instead of sinning. It means serving God and others instead of serving sin, Satan and self. When we surrender control to the Lord, He gives us more and stronger self-control than we ever had under Satan. It is much more satisfying, peaceful and joyful to control ourselves for good. Under Satan our self-control was under the influence of lies and misinformation. Under God our self-control is under the influence of truth. Our self-control under God has truth to act upon that it never had before. Self-control without truth is not self-control at all.
John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 8:32: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 17:17: Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
John 14:16-17: And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.