Self-Control and Epiphanes

8.4.23 Devo Image

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”—Titus 2:11–14 (NIV)

Today, we close out our nine-volume study on the fruit of the Spirit with a final word on self-control. But before we get started in breaking down our passage, I want to ask you to open up your Bible and read the entirety of Titus 2. I’ll wait . . .

Okay, we’re back! Why did I have you do that? I’m hoping you spotted a pattern. Did you notice how often Paul said “self-control” in just 15 verses? Four times! Why? Because self-control is essential for the flourishing of the Christian, both in life and in mission!

You see, self-control flows out of a heart that’s yielded unto the Holy Spirit. Paul is instructing all believers to live a life dominated by the Spirit and not by the flesh. This was important in a culture of treachery, violence, dishonesty, and sexual corruption—and it’s important today! In a culture of instant gratification, walking in self-control is so important because it’s so easy to fall short in this area. It’s literally as easy as the push of a button. 

In the same way that discipline and self-control are necessary components of a healthy diet and exercise program, they’re also a necessary component of true gospel living! Gospel living? Look again at this chapter. In the first 13 verses, Paul gives instruction to a variety of people in different seasons and stations of life. And with each instruction, he caps off his instructions on how they should live with statements like:

  • “So that no one will malign the word of God.”
  • “So that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” 
  • “So that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”

What this shows us is that true gospel living (a self-controlled life yielded to the Holy Spirit) enables us to be faithful witnesses and effective ambassadors of Jesus Christ to the watching world. 

Look back once more at verse 11 which says, “For the grace of God has appeared . . .” The word translated as appeared here is epephanē. It means “to bring light to, to make visible, to become clearly known.” It’s where we get our English word for epiphany! 2 Corinthians 4 tells us that the eyes (hearts) of those who don’t believe in Jesus have been blinded by the enemy; they reject the truth and walk in darkness because they can’t see or understand the truth. And you and I were there, too! At one point, we couldn’t see the light of Jesus until, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we had our epiphany, until the light of the gospel broke through the darkness and shone into our hearts!

And now, as He works in us, as we walk in the fruit of the Spirit, as we learn to say “‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,” the Holy Spirit uses our lives to enable others to have their epiphany! Regardless of gender, age, societal standing, or season, when we live with self-control and walk in the truth of the gospel, our lives can be the catalyst God uses to bring the light of Jesus into the lives of the people around us, to make the love of God through Christ visible to them, and to make the power of the gospel clearly known to them!

Pause: How does God use your self-control and godly living to draw others to having an epiphany? 

Practice: Think about someone whose example and godly life helped draw you to salvation. If you’re able, share an encouraging word with them about how their life demonstrated the fruit of the Spirit and how the Lord used them to minister to you!

Pray: Father, I desire to be used by You to draw others to Your kingdom. By Your Spirit, help me live the kind of life that demonstrates the fruit of the Spirit, that is self-controlled, upright, and godly, and that will bring people closer to Your Son. Amen.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.