Self-indulgence and self-control: an overview

Indulgence is the message of society: whatever feels good, whatever you want to do, do it... and do it as much as you want to. Whatever is right for you go and do it, it's cool. It's also about looking good or amazing or feeling and looking better.

Self control is about how your actions affect others, and affect yourself. It is more caring and loving than self indulgence and considers others before doing things that "feel good." 

God's grace gives us the power and desire to denounce self indulgence.

One saying that stuck out to me was that lovers of pleasure = lovers of despair. That is one ironic saying because despair is what they all are trying to get away from, isn't it?

There were several good verses that spoke to various people in attendance during the outdoor campfire church discussion:

Self-control in the body of Christ  

If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be?
— 1 Corinthians 12:17-19

1 Corinthians 12:17-19 is talking about how each person is a part of the whole body of Christ, one is an ear and another the mouth. We can't say we don't need each other because we do need each other. How does this relate to the topic of self indulgence vs. self control? It does this in a few ways:

  1. It shows us that self control is a key part of being part of the body of Christ. By being hospitable, kind and unselfish, we think of others and how our actions affect them.
  2. It shows us that to be part of the body we need to always be diligent about how our actions and words affect others.
  3. It shows us that self indulgence goes against this by seeking whatever "feels good" at the time, meaning, for example, if you want to lash out in anger, go ahead if it's going to make you feel better! The problem with this is that your actions most likely have hurt those around you without you being fully aware of the damage you have caused because it " felt justified" or "good" at the time. That anger you acted on just hurt the body of Christ as a result; rather than lifting it up, you didn't consider how your actions affected others and thus brought destruction instead.

Wisdom and self-control

But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
— James 3:14-17

James 3:14-17 talks about the difference between worldly and true wisdom and what it brings upon oneself and others.  Harboring bitter envy and selfish ambition is self indulgence, but self control lets those go knowing that will lead to better relationships and that Harboring bitterness and selfish ambition affects others even when you can't see how it does.

remember Jesus

Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.
— 1 Peter 2:18-19

These verses talk about even when treated unfairly and harshly and unjustly you should submit yourselves in reverent fear of God. When you do this kind of submission instead of acting out in anger like what you would like to do, you come to a new understanding of what Christ did for you. It also helps you with understanding how your actions affect others even when the punishment you receive is unjust, and helps you understand Jesus' long suffering for us.

We have impact

In conclusion, our actions and inactions alike have far more reach than we give them credit for. We need, therefore, to submit ourselves to God's love and grace so that we can do what he wants and ultimately become more self controlled and more aware of how our actions do affect others.