The Kingship of Self-Control I

When a man fails in life he usually says, “I am as God made me.” When he succeeds he proudly proclaims himself a “self-made man.” Man is placed into this world not as a finality,—but as a possibility. Man’s greatest enemy is,—himself. Man in his weakness is the creature of circumstances; man in his strength is the creator of circumstances. Whether he be victim or victor depends largely on himself.

Man is never truly great merely for what he is, but ever for what he may become. Until man be truly filled with the knowledge of the majesty of his possibility, until there come to him the glow of realization of his privilege to live the life committed to him, as an individual life for which he is individually responsible, he is merely groping through the years…

Man needs less of the “I am a feeble worm of the dust” idea in his theology, and more of the conception “I am a great human soul with marvelous possibilities” as a vital element in his daily, working religion. With this broadening, stimulating view of life, he sees how he may attain his kingship through self-control. And the self-control that is seen in the most spectacular instances in history, and in the simplest phases of daily life is precisely the same in kind and in quality, differing only in degree. This control man can attain, if he only will; it is but a matter of paying the price.” ~ William George Jordan

I love Mr. Jordan’s assertion that you are placed here not as a finality, but as a possibility and that if you approach life weakly, you will forever be a victim of circumstance, whereas if you approach it in strength, you are a creator. I’m sure that most people long to be creators and not victims, but for lack of the right education and training their identity remains firmly fixed in the dust of the earth.

It is a strange thing that people more often than not must be convinced of the greatness of their soul. This is not to be confused with the greatness that many people feel about themselves in an outer sense, as in “I am beautiful,” “I am smart” or “I am all heart,” for such greatness often leads to vanity or hubris. For the greatness of your soul to be known, you must first and foremost be humble.

Humility is a stance of strength. Many assume it is a weak-kneed or apologetic approach to living, which it is if it comes dishonestly, but true humility allows for the fullest expression of your inner greatness in any circumstance you might face. False humility produces false pride, limiting the greatness that could be expressed from the inside out. True humility is like a fiber optic line that allows the light which emanates from the core of you outward to your body, mind and heart, that is, the “you” that everyone else sees. How do you let your light shine? For starters, by assuming a stance of complete humility.

Humility sets the stage for the development of self-control. Arrogance, on the other hand, plants the seeds for the gradual yet eventual loss of self-control. Arrogance is easy to recognize. Defined as “having or showing an exaggerated opinion of one’s own importance, merit, ability, etc.,” arrogance gives evidence of a disconnect between the soul and the mind. Absent this nourishing link, the mind must artificially inflate itself.

Man’s greatest enemy really is himself. He is either, as Jordan observed “the creature of circumstances” or the “creator of circumstances” and it is his approach to living, more than the quality of the hand he is dealt, that establishes him as one or the other. I suppose that is why it was written long ago that the number of man is the same as the number of the beast. This is not a religious statement belonging to one group or another, it is simply a statement of the fact that we are capable of both dominion and subjection.

Approach life in strength and humility and you are bound to be a creator in the center of your world. Handle your world reactively rather than radiantly, forever worrying about what lies around the next corner and obsessing about how it makes you feel, and you are sure to assume the role of a victim to be pitied.

The choice is yours.

9 thoughts on “The Kingship of Self-Control I

  1. Duffer

    Mr Jordan mentions “the paying the price” to attain the level of living to which he and Gregg are referring. Yet in hindsight I for one have discovered that the real price to pay is when one gives in to their circumstances and basically wastes their life, maybe looking for the easy way out instead of making a decision to do the right thing in each moment. The waste is a far greater price to pay than the making of changes along the way which likely will lead to a life to be lived with all of the wonderful characteristics and benefits that come with it. Elements such as truly making a positive difference to others for example!

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  2. Colin

    Self control allows us to gather the power necessary to do anything of value in our lives. The humble stance is one that does not waste. It gathers life’s natural energy and expends it at the appropriate time where there is leverage to get something valuable done. False humility says that we don’t have the ability to do anything of value, so why should we be ready for it? This is a cop out, and I think that most people know that if they do this they fail before they begin. Arrogance, on the other hand, spends wantonly. An arrogant person fails because they don’t have anything left when the crunch time comes. They spend it on hyping themselves up, because they have not spent the time creating the foundation as a humble person would.
    Self control allows us to unite body, mind, and heart in a way that gives us the greatest chance to make a difference in the world. As Jordan said, the greatest enemy you is yourself, but the corollary is that you do not have to be an enemy to yourself at all. So, be humble!

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  3. David R

    Arrogance assumes the unproven, while humility watches and listens, refusing to pre-judge, with genuine openness, always concerned to let things prove themselves. To a humble person, the strengths and talents of others are a matter for delight and admiration, though never a cause for casting oneself down. One’s own quality of greatness is never seen as separate from the greatness of others or the greatness of the whole from which all are seen to spring.

    This is a wonderful area for meditation and constant clarification!

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  4. Ricardo B.

    I can see that. Man is a potential, and as in electricity, the flow of energy or electrical current exists only in a state of potential until it is grounded. In a similar fashion, the great possibility inherent in every human being is only a possibility unless it is realized by ‘grounding’ this potential.
    How is this done? Well, by simply doing away with the many impediments to this natural circuitry. You lay them out quite clearly here, and it is no wonder why it has been mentioned that the ‘greatest sin’ is false pride. This will indeed prevent the current from travelling down its rightful path. When it travels down the rightful path, this is where I can see what you call radiance come forth. From radiance, there is blessing to the world around you, and light is evident. When it travels down a wrong path, then there is the potential of danger. This is where people can get hurt, and it comes from a misuse of this energy. Once again, using electrical terms, a short-circuit manifests and things usually blow up somehow and darkness ensues.
    It is good to see the consitencies in the way things work for it leads to an integrated cosmology and that is settling to the mind. Life is reasonable, and this kind of education into the workings of the human soul is sorely missing today. Very appreciative of what you are doing here!

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  5. Doug

    What a cogent post, thank you. Understanding the value of humility is a protection against the most destructive force we are faced with …our own arrogance.

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  6. Lady Leo

    Most would like to think they will chose how they live their lives, I believe we all do. Maybe not the exact circumstances but HOW we actually live in the circumstances. Humility and strength, allow the light, that is the conduit for the power of our Creator, now things we could’t have imagined are possible.
    Thanks for this wonderful post!

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  7. Kolya

    Those who are humble are not typically viewed as having strength, but when it’s at the foundation of our expression, it makes us super men and women!

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