Real Life: Self-Control
“God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Control is something we all want to have in our lives. When that control is lost, we grasp after it until we have it again, no matter what the cost. In God’s kingdom, the only control we must have is control that is regulated by the Spirit of God. Power, choice, and surrender are key elements to self-control. We have the power to act, or not. We can surrender to God’s will, or not. The resources of heaven are at our disposal every minute of every day to keep us in step with the Spirit, if we that’s what we choose.
There is another power fighting for control in us: the power of sin. Sin is what every human being is born with because of Adam’s fall. We start off life with a nature that is against God. It is easier for us to do what is wrong than to choose right. But once the Spirit enters us by faith, we have the power behind us to say “no” to sin. I can say joyfully that “my old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20). When I surrender to the Spirit, I gain control of the emotions and actions that are capable of devastating lives.
In James, God speaks of the power of the tongue: “For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” James 3:2. God gives control of the tongue high importance. Words can either give life or cause death. If we control our words, it means we have control over our entire lives. How can this be accomplished? I have found great strength in the spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude. There are other disciplines, but these two have yielded the most fruit in my life. In this way I can listen to God’s voice and understand His word. I can find out how He wants me to pray. I learn to trust Him with my life. There is no place for fear and anxiety. When they rise (and believe me, they do), I answer them with the Word planted in my heart through hours alone with my Lord.
Are you willing to pursue the life God wants to live through you? I know of no greater joy.
“He who is slow to anger is better and more honorable than the mighty [soldier], and he who rules and controls his own spirit, than he who captures a city.” Proverbs 16:32 (AMP).