Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Self Control

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)

This is definitely a big area of struggle for me. I am selfish, and want what I want, when I want. Awfully childish attitude (especially when I spell it out like that), but that's the truth. No, this attitude didn't magically go away when I became a wife and mom. It's getting better, but still much room for improvement. I lack discipline in many areas, and I'm seeing my poor habits manifest themselves in the kids, too.

A few thoughts from Naked Fruit by Elisa Morgan:

"Self-control hems us about, protecting us from losing ground to impatience, bitterness, greed and the like... Self-control is a healthy-mindedness that watches for the holes in the walls of our lives and keeps them patched...

It's never too late to repair the wall. It may seem so. In fact, that's one of the greatest lies in our days: It's too late, it's too big, it's too bad, forget it. But because the fruit of self-control, like all spiritual fruit, is a fruit grown by God in our lives, it's not too late today and it won't be too late tomorrow... He doesn't give up on us...

The holes in our wall are patched when we learn to think truthfully about our lives in a healthy-minded fashion. What's the truth about who I am and what I do and what I want to be? A life that matters is a life connected to God. If I'm connected, I'm growing in the fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control - and that reality will grow in me and through me a life that matters."

Honestly, I think self-control is the most neglected fruit (particularly here in America). It's certainly the least fun - we all happily latch on to the ideas of love, joy, peace, etc... but denying our selfish impulses? Whoa!! But I also think it's really interesting to look at the order of the fruits. It all starts with love. Anyone read I Cor 13 lately? If we don't have love, everything else is pointless. And where does it end? With self-control. It's about balance, and it sort of "tempers" the other fruits, helping find the balance of being too stingy or going over the top. I've started thinking of it more along the lines of giving God control of myself. Because as already mentioned, my self is awfully weak. But when I turn it over, things get easier.

Thoughts? Anyone else struggle on this?


Shay said...

I heard Joyce Meyer give a great sermon once about running our lives on our feelings, and how destructive that is. I think the self-control issue goes hand in hand with this - it's all about me, and what I want, and what I FEEL. I think it's especially hard in a culture that promotes the exact opposite of the way we should be living. We are definitely swimming upstream!

MaryLu said...

I think this is probably the thing I most struggle with.
It changes everything in my attitude. If I do not have self control, I cannot love effectively. If I am selfish about things that I think I need, I cannot give freely t the Lord's work, I cannot teach my children to not be greedy. It all centers on me and that is not where God wants me to direct my attention.
Thanks for the thought today, I needed that.

Dapoppins said...

I struggle with it, and I really struggle with teaching it.

megan said...

You commented about your post on my 'conviction' post. And what you write is so true! Can I confess a self control issue for me lately? Walking thru target! I get what I need and see so much that I want. I almost always walk away with something extra that I don't need. It's time to change! =)

In Pursuit of His Call said...

Another way I like to think of self control is self denial.

When I think of Jesus and his ministry, he denied himself in the greatest capacity. Although Jesus was fully God, he was also fully man and he did not use his diety to live out his life. To live out his life without sin, Jesus was completely dependant upon the Holy Spirit to work in his life. To do that, Jesus had to completely deny his flesh so that the Holy Spirit could perfectly work in Him.

Although through Christ we are freed from the chains of sin, sometimes we keep ourselves enslaved to our sins by continuing to live in our flesh rather than powering up with the Holy Spirit. We often underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit and just try to do it our own selves and our own way. Yet, we are warned to no longer live according to the flesh, but to live according to the Spirit. When we do, God is faithful in producing the fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

2 Peter 1:3-11
"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Oh, by the way, my self-control struggle is my impatience and quick temper.