Self-Control June 30, 2014

Whatif you’re not strong enough to pursue self-control?

Wehave contradictory ideas about self-control.  We admire self-disciplinedOlympic athletes; we yearn for more self-control so we can lose weight. But we also have strong, if ill-defined , feelings that any kind ofconstraint is bad.  Few of the advertising jingles that we often live byurge self-control. 

“Whateveryou do, begin with God.”  What does God think about self-control?  Proverbs 25:28 says, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into andleft without walls.”  Consider the picture:  anyone coming along cantake what he wants from that city.  A lack of self-control puts you at themercy of hostile agendas.

Galatians5 puts self-control in the same list of the fruit of the Spirit as love andjoy, a very high value.  Self-control is part of the Christian message. In Acts 25:25 Paul reasoned with Felix about righteousness, self-control,and the coming judgment.

Canwe go buy some self-control?  This is America, after all.  Where dowe get it?  Getting self-control begins elsewhere.  Our actions comefrom our desires and our desires come from our thoughts.  We will do whatwe think most desirable in our situation, based on what we believe.  Thepsalmists are great examples of showing us this link.  In Psalm 73, thewriter highlights how his thinking was leading him to give up and howconsidering God’s goodness changed his thinking and his choices. Lloyd-Jones sums it up:  “Most of your unhappiness in life is due tothe fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself”.

There’sa positive and negative side to self-control.  Negatively, we are to avoidsin, and in 1 Corinthians 13:10 are promised that there is a way out of everytemptation.  On the positive side, we need self-control to spend our timewell.  Christians enjoy reading God’s Word and yet we must haveself-discipline to do it.  Part of the battle is in simply choosing to beaware of what we’re doing and what our choices are.

Weneed to renew our self-control.  We get that from interacting with God. Good friends can boost your self-control by encouragement andunderstanding.  You can help yourself by not sapping your self-controlneedlessly.  For instance, get enough sleep.    

Self-controlis moral “budgeting.”  You choose what do and spend time on rather thanletting events and whims dictate that.   Who doesn’t want to be moreeffective and pleased with their decisions?  This week why not reflect onwhat is true and spend time being guided by Proverbs and Psalms?