Do you feel like you are in control of your life or are things controlling you? Most of us deal with some sort of “vise” that seems to take control of us if we aren’t careful. It could be that you have lost control by spending too much, eating too much, drinking too much, scrolling social media too much, exercising too much, and even watching too much tv. But did you know that God has given us everything we need to have self-control?
All year, we have focused on the following verses:
2 Peter 1:5-9 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, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, 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 whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Notice, since God has made His power available to us and has given us everything we need for a life of holiness, that means we can have self-control as Christians. It’s not an impossible task.
We also see from this passage that self-control is part of a chain of qualities that we should have in our lives and should grow in. That’s what Peter means when he speaks of possessing those “qualities in increasing measure.” We should take heart in realizing that all of us experience this process of growth. None of us have finally arrived. We’re all on the same journey together as we grow in these qualities, including self-control!
Exercise is not a sin. Scrolling social media is not a sin. Shopping is not a sin. However, anything that controls us can cause us to stumble. I don’t believe God wants to shame us or make us feel guilty about doing any of these things. However, when we put all those things BEFORE God, then we aren’t growing in our relationship TO HIM!
When we become a follower of Christ, that doesn’t take away everything that controls us. But the Bible reminds us that the world no longer controls us, but He who lives in us leads and guides us.
Ephesians 4:22-24 “in reference to your former way of life, you are to rid yourselves of the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you are to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
I want to give you practical ways to help you when you want to gain control over these areas:
These suggestions are not exhaustive, but here are a few practical ideas for exercising godly self-control, as seen in Scripture:
Step 1. Renew your mind through God’s Word. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
Step 2. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s help. “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him…and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:16,17-19).
Step 3. Confess your habits to God and others. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Look to Scripture or people in your life who lived a life of self-control. Ask yourself: what made them different? What kinds of habits did they include in their lives?
Step 4. Identify and remove your triggers. “…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Step 5: Develop a plan: Develop an action plan to help you overcome those areas where you need to have self-control. Be as specific as possible. Use apps when necessary. Find people who will hold you accountable. Look for people who are going to be tough and who you know will help you stick to your action plan.
Step 6. Remember the gospel when you fail. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Praise God for the magnification of his grace in our weakness, as we pursue the important exercise of self-control, which is highly glorifying to him and the wonder of his eternal gospel!
When you realize that you aren’t giving control of your life to Christ, it can lead to a path of destruction. You will spend time seeking after worldly desires instead of Godly desires.
But when you surrender your life to Christ, you will begin to see the fruit of the Holy Spirit in all areas of your life. And just like the verse in Peter that we’ve been studying all year, His (Christ’s) divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
We want to thank Vickie Young for sharing this post.