I never struggle with procrastination.
I always do the main thing instead of being distracted.
I will flee from temptation immediately, so I won’t ever fall.
I perfectly put other’s needs before my own every time.
Bottom line – I always do what I should and never do what I shouldn’t!
Unless you are a liar, you will join me in confessing the above declaration is a bit wishful thinking. I am not saying that we all struggle with exactly the same manifestations of self-control, but the truth is that we all struggle in one way or another to live a consistent life. This reality is one of the ways that God invites us to look upon each other with a loving attitude of grace and humility.
Far too often, Christians have perpetuated the lie that we are the ones who have our acts together all the time. Don’t get me wrong – sin is not okay, and God has given us the power to withstand any sin that comes our way. But we are not that good, and we are invited to daily rejoice in being saved by grace. I remember personally the feeling of being crushed or the temptation to pretend I was better than I really was in my high school years. We fell into the trap of talking about “How much better my behavior is now that I am a Christian” rather than “How much better life is walking with Jesus.”
They may sound similar but notice the difference in where the emphasis is placed. Am I focused on me or my God? Am I celebrating Jesus and His gifts or am I celebrating and exalting me? The focus on self has always driven humanity into hiding, pride or despair. It is only in “dying to self” that we truly find a healthy perspective on self-control. After all, look at the context of our Fruit of the Spirit passage.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
This is all about being guided by the spirit of God while at the same time giving up the focus on “self” while connecting to being crucified with Christ. Self-control comes moment by moment as Christ meets us through faith. But it is also built and strengthened as we grow deep in God’s Word, developing new habits through seeing God’s faithfulness as we step out into a life lived by faith.
Self-control is really about living a life of worship, trusting God’s way to be best! It is agreeing with God and resting in His perfect love.
Pastor Nick Mundis