Easier said than done.#6. “Control yourself.”

Easier said than done.#6. “Control yourself.”

You are setting yourself up to fail if you attempt to win over sin and temptation by sheer will-power. The devil sees such acts of naivety coming for miles. Human willpower has been thwarted by the devil since Eden.

And nothing has changed since then to make people any less susceptible to kidding themselves that they know better than God.

Fear and failure are the twin dreads of Christian progress. Souls frightened into the realm of doubt find themselves stuck fast and unable to move. But this is not the spirit that Christians are born again to: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control” (2Tim.1:7). Experience tells you that successful efforts to maintain self-control have been hit and miss at best. As hard as controlling bad language, evil thoughts and puerile attitudes are, they seem easy compared to controlling long-held bad habits.

It is in serious prayer and meditation that you invite the Holy Spirit to do His work. There He convicts you of the destruction caused by your uncontrolled living and calls you to repentance. Peace comes in the knowledge that confessed sins are cleansed by the blood of Christ. And it is then that you can expect that wisdom and strength be injected into your renewed spirit—it is there for the asking. We are creatures with choice and we chose our direction and behaviour. It is heaven’s calling that keeps us focused and demands of us a commitment to holiness. We are in a race to receive a crown of glory. The rules call for endurance to the end:

“Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (1Cor.9:25).

John Staiger

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