“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.”
Hebrews 12:1New International Version (NIV)
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
We all have different paths and lives that only we could walk. It is up to us to decide how fast or slow we journey that road. There are many distractions along the way, but in the end it is still up to us allow those distractions to keep up from pursuing our journey. As the author of Hebrews says, “there is a race marked out for us” and tells us that before we run “we should throw off everything that will trip us” or make it difficult for us to run as we should.
Paul also understands how difficult it is to have self-control. He told the Romans the struggle that he goes through.
Romans 7:15-20 New International Version (NIV)
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
At the same time he also knows the importance of self-control in our lives.
1 Corinthians 9:25 New International Version (NIV)
25 Everyone 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.
Paul is telling the Corinthian church that even athletes go into STRICT training in which they practice extreme self-control. For what? Paul says, “they do it to get a crown that will not last” and asks the Christians what more so for us? Our lives are not meant for something temporary but it is meant for something eternal. Therefore, Paul reminds us of the importance of self-control as we run this race marked out for us.