Post details: A Worthwhile Distinction?


Permalink 01:42:48 am, Categories: GraceHead teaching, By Trent, 513 words   English (US)

A Worthwhile Distinction?

by Trent - originally posted August 17, 2005

There is a difference between self control (which is the fruit of the Spirit) and self-discipline (which is satan's counterfeit.) The Word of God is sharp enough to divide between them and lay bare self-control as a manifestation of the Spirit, and self-discipline as a dead work.

The difference is subtle, but I think that it is a worthwhile distinction.

A dieter is an example of self-discipline. They want candy, pizza, and cake ... you can cut the tension with a knife, when the ice-cream truck, drives by the fat farm. The dieters are not comfortable when they get to the "treat" section of the grocer. They are hindered, restricted, and of the mindset to say "no" at all costs.

Compare that to the athlete. The athlete does not have the mindset of the dieter, though they might have similar food intake. The athlete doesn't hear the music of the ice-creme truck. They don't even know where the "treat" section is. To them it is no sacrifice to give up candy, pizza, and cake. They have a different agenda. They have their eye on a prize, and whatever it is that stands in the way of that goal ... they WANT (key word) to be rid of it. It really isn't saying "no" to treats as much as saying "yes" to the prize.

Whereas self-discipline is a shackle from the outside placed over the wants ... Self-control (the fruit of the Spirit) is the free reign of spiritually motivated desires, unhindered ... because the wants of the self-controlled are holy, or being transformed to holiness by the Holy Spirit ... Who works in them to WILL and to DO according to His good pleasure.

1 Corinthians 9
24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Paul's sentiment is a novel sentiment. Those that express likewise are likely holy, and seeking to be as they have become.

This stands is stark contrast to another of Paul's statements:

Colossians 2
20Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21"Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Is this a worthwhile distinction?

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Comment from: Mrs Zeke [Visitor] ·
So I keep re-reading this and here is my confusion. Lets say I want to study more of my Bible then would i be practicing self discipline in creating a ritual of reading until it became habit?

Be loved my brother you are
Permalink 01/29/08 @ 14:34
Comment from: Trent [Member] ·
Mrs. Zeke,


You said:"""Lets say I want to study more of my Bible"""

Provided that reading the Bible it is what you WANT, then I would call that the fruit of the Spirit - self-control.

If you were a going through the motions and had no real sincere desire, but did so for the some other reason (piety / self-righteousness / appearance) then reading the Bible would be something outward put upon and over against your wants ... and it would be self-discipline (which is sin.)

The key is true "WANTS."

All works will be judged for quality, and by "judged" I mean they will be exposed to us, what God already sees about them. Don't worry, all will see clearly how God sees our actions, be it of sin or that which is wrought in God ... and we will know for sure on that day. This article is just a hint to those that are interested in knowing what will be revealed someday (soon) anyway.

Ripening still,

Permalink 01/30/08 @ 00:02
Comment from: the_burning_bush [Visitor] ·
Often times I find the best commentaries have a strong "surprise factor". This post really has that. It really lured me in.

I don't think there is anything satanic per se in keeping the calories down (maybe you weren't saying that), but if someone uses their diet to elevate themselves over others (perhaps the so-called hallelujah diet falls into this category) then it's exactly what Paul was warning against.

One thing I liked about your post is where you actually say that self-control is a good thing. All the sermons I hear talk about how anything with a "self" in it is a bad thing. I think I get your distinction, (the control versus the legalism).

Good post. Thanks, Trent.
Permalink 01/30/08 @ 02:05

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