The Pastor's Pen
SELF-CONTROL (UPDATED - FEBRUARY 10, 2020)
Self-control Demands Strategy It will not happen automatically. We are back to that matter of diligence. You have to want it and you have to try. It requires earnest effort. Here’s plan.
- Ask for the Spirit’s help. “I say then; walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16. Notice the order. And remember – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”Galatians 5:22-25
- Adjust your thoughts. “So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control.” 1 Peter 1:13. C.S. Lewis noted that Christians unfairly blame their sins on the body and it’s appetites. But in most cases, the body obeys impulses generated in the mind. Sometimes the body resists the mind; it almost always hated the first smoke and first drink. It was the mind that insisted on continuing those habits. Likewise, the right thoughts circulating through our minds empower our self-restraint.
- Acquire new habits. You can change. “Exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8
- Avoid tight spots. When you begin to cultivate self-control, the devil will notice. Stay out of places, situations and circumstances that he could use to make you stumble or fall. “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul.” Proverbs 16:17
- Accept the process. Learning self-control is a process. You won’t master it all at once. If you mess up, don’t give up.Proverbs 24:16 – “For though the righteous fall seven times, the rise again.”
I don’t know about you, but I sense myself making progress through the process. And that excites me. It is good to be on the journey with you. It is not easy, but… God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. So may we with all diligence, add to our faith, virtue. To our virtue, knowledge. And to our knowledge, self-control.
First Baptist Church