Sometimes my self – control is noteworthy. Other times it is pitiful. It’s almost like I have to schedule it into my day. It needs my focus and attention.
How are you with self – control? Have you found outside accountability helps? Or, if you set your mind to something you are able to stay focused and achieve your goal?
Usually my need for self – control is related to a goal I have set. I have to say “no” to some things in order to see the results in those goal areas. Unfortunately, I seem to always get distracted. I might be a little busy and then I forget I even have the goal unless I have it written down, provided I haven’t misplaced the paper. And it always helps if I have someone on the outside waiting for me to follow through.
I think of all of the fruits of the Spirit I get the most frustrated with my lack of self – control. Depending on what we are talking about, my stick-to-it-iveness struggles. I need Thankfully, God loves me in spite of my flaws. And He knows my heart, even if I don’t achieve all my goals this side of Heaven.
Have you found the key to your self – control challenges? What makes you more likely to have success?
Have you ever had a season of disobedience? Sometimes those “seasons” go on for years! Pure selfishness typically characterizes the attitudes and actions during this time. Oh, and the sowing of seeds of future challenges! It’s like you are taking musk thistle seeds and burying them all around you to ensure you have some life long challenges with deep and difficult roots. Oh the crazy things we do!
I am in the middle of Beth Moore’s Bible Study on David. Her studies are very in-depth and thought provoking and I encourage you to explore one if you ever get the chance.
Remember David from Scripture? The shepherd boy, king, adulterer, and author of many Psalms? If you get a chance to survey his life in a study, you should definitely do it. He had an incredibly close relationship with God and then wandered far away. And then he recognized his sin. Fascinating and familiar, all at the same time! Here are a few powerful quotes from the Beth Moore study David: Seeking A Heart Like His (workbook pages 150-159) I have been pondering:
* Most of us have had seasons of unrepentance when we outwardly attempted to go on with life as if we had not sinned against God.
* In the gap between wanting and getting we must flex the muscle of self control to protect ourselves.
* A heart out of God’s hands never fails to fall into danger.
* “All rebellion begins in isolation.”
* Little should frighten us more than realizing the Holy Spirit’s conviction has grown so faint we hardly sense it.
* Intense selfishness accompanies a faraway heart.
* Sometimes the further we wander outside God’s will, the more we judge others and the less we show mercy.
If you sense you are in a season of disobedience, repent and talk to God. If you remember a season of disobedience in your own life, consider what you learned immediately following that time. What steps have you taken to insure that season doesn’t darken your doorstep again?
Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Listening to God
I am currently studying the life of David. There are two chapters of I Samuel you should probably read for a greater understanding of this PrayerPoint: 1 Samuel 24-26.
The quick summary of where I am in this study of David’s life is this: Saul is the king. David actually is chosen (by God) as the next king. While Saul is king he is jealous of David and pursues David’s life relentlessly. David is in two situations when he could kill Saul but does not do it. Instead, David let’s Saul live.
Have you ever been targeted by someone personally or professionally and placed in a perfect public position to retaliate and let the moment pass without acting on it? Can you imagine the self-control that would require? David would have been justified (humanly-speaking) if he had killed Saul. In fact, it could have even been viewed as God giving Saul over to David by placing him in the perfect situation (even twice) to take Saul’s life. By all accounts it looked like God was delivering Saul into David’s hand except David knew God’s heart on the matter. What are the baby steps of self-control that lead up to that level of maturity? Not all of these relate to this exact scenario but they do all relate to self-control…here are a few I came up with but I am sure there are more:
- not insisting on my own way
- turning away from things that look good “in the moment”
- honoring God in “little” things (which are really big things)
- deferring to another’s idea
- saying no to “good” things because there is a “better” or “best” choice
- not looking at every open door as a place to enter
- allowing someone else to be honored
- a very solid relationship with God
You simply do not know when you will be placed in a position when you need to discern what God would want of you but practicing self-control now as well as deep relationship with God certainly will place you in a better position. Now, keep in mind that David will be making some really poor decisions when he is king so even though he is walking closely with God during this scenario with Saul, David obviously does some drifting as the years go by. A sobering thought.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
Oh my. Self-control. Why is it is so difficult at times? But here is some amazing motivation:
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV
The word picture in the above verse is powerful and motivating yet I still find myself willingly consenting to certain areas of sin.
Be self-controlled and alert. I do think that being alert is as important as being self-controlled. If I am not paying attention or “on alert” then it is so much easier for me to just get sucked into whatever is happening around me. If I am aware of my surroundings and remembering the goal or immersed in the Word, it is much easier to exercise self-control.
And in the end, self-control is something I need to be doing. But as a fruit of the Spirit, it is also a result of what the Holy Spirit is doing in my life. I have enough trouble in the area of self-control that I think I should not be refusing God’s help via the Spirit!
May your week be “Fruit Full”,