Who wants it? No one really! Nope, no one wants to be responsible, unselfish, and delay gratification. What I want, I want and I want it now....and not self-control. I don't just want soup and salad, I want steak and potatoes. After dinner I want pie, but pie alone won't satisfy, I need the slice to be really big with huge scoops of ice cream.
What is self-contol anyway? I hear it most when it comes to dieting. "I need a little self-control so I can lose a few pounds." How about a lot of self-control? How about self-control wholistically and not just here and there, wherever it suits or looks good?
2 Timothy 3:1-5 "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-having a form of godliness but denying its power."
The way I see it, the lack of self-control has a lot to do with the list here in 2 Timothy. If I lack self-control I will make selfish decisions, I will hoard my money or spend it on myself, boast, disobey, etc...I just see the lack of self-control all over this. Let's say I have a little self-control, maybe I will not be treacherous or brutal but sometimes a little conceited or rash. I just don't see why not seek for as much self-control as I can get. But then I would have to give up something, the flesh!
Did you notice the last part of the 2 Timothy verse? "Having a form of godliness but denying its power." Woe! Guilty! Again, this is just more evidence of little self-control. Imagine a God"s people relying upon the power of the Spirit and giving up the flesh. Imagine God's people living by the Spirit. I am supposed to be a lover of God! I am supposed to be self-controlled.
Proverbs 25:28 says "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control." In other words, when the devil attacks (which is all the time) I won't be able to defend myself or my boundaries, mostly because I won't have boundaries. I will most likely lose the battle.
I am a child of light and of the day. I don't belong to the night or to the darkness. I m not to be like others who are asleep, but I am to be alert and self-controlled. (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6) I am to be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. (vs 8) I have been called, chosen, and equipped to fight the attacks of the devil. I am to prepare my mind for action, to be self-controlled, setting my hope fully on the grace to be given to me when Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:13)
I'm going to be in action. I am going to be attacked. Will I just surrender my life, my body, my soul because I just didn't have enough self-control? Should I live a life of pleasure, giving into the flesh because its easy and available or the fight is just too hard? I mean, how could a little giving in hurt me or anyone else? Why can't I have a little of the world and its pleasure? Because the flesh is weak giving in to sin which leads to death! How about I listen to the God who has called me? How about I get prepared? What if I avoid death and choose life? How about I start living in His power rather than denying it?
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "NO" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." Titus 2:11-14
God is the source of self-control. He is the reason I need self-control and the reason I want self-control. He is the the provider of self-control. I just need to submit my own will for pleasure, indulgence, material goods, power, fame, etc., and I need to praise my God for His abundant power to give my more than a little self-control, but all the self-control I need to live an upright and godly life.
God will give me self-control that not only empowers me to resist a little chocolate, but the attacks of the flesh that call me to be lazy, unloving, selfish, hateful, angry, bitter, impulsive, materialistic, vain. pleasure seeking, ignorant, lacking in hope, and denying the power of God.
I haven't reached the point of full surrender. I still hold on to my own will. I may have released my little pinky finger, but my fist is still holds a grip. I struggle to submit my desires and live for God. The world just tastes so good. Don't get me wrong, I have been drunk on the Spirit of God and it is awesome and powerful and fulfilling. A life of Spirit would be ultimately satisfying, it would be a life with God, all His glory and power. Why wouldn't I want to live on the Spirit?
I pray that over this year my life will no longer reveal little self-control, but a life living on the power of God for full self-control....God-control. May God have control over my mouth and my life. It will take time. May God and all of you be patient with me. May God give me the power to live a self-controlled, upright, and godly life.