The Spirit has all the self-control I need

Self-control is a sticky widget.

Temptation surrounds all of us. None of us are exempt! Though the temptations I am more vulnerable to are probably different from yours, the struggle against them is likely the same.

God calls us to exercise self-control. But how do we do that? How is it possible? I can be extremely disciplined in certain aspects of my life, and throw up my hands in defeat in others.

Lately I’ve been fighting a battle of self-control. To be honest, most days my effort has been less than desirable. I’ll be diligent for a week or two (or a day or two to be more accurate), and then I fall back into the same pattern. Frustration sets in, and excuses follow.

This week as I was studying God’s Word, and praying about the struggle, God brought this to my attention:

I don’t have enough self-control. The Holy Spirit living inside me does.

Galatians 5:22-23 tells me that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Instead of focusing on what I can’t have or should resist, I need to rely on the Holy Spirit inside of me. Self-control is a result of the Spirit working in my life. Self-control is not about me resisting or overcoming in my own strength. That will lead straight to defeat. Self-control is giving myself to God.

So, for the last few days, when I have faced a particular temptation or started to feel the oh-so-familiar struggle, I have either thought or actually voiced this truth:

The Holy Spirit has all the self-control that I need.

That’s it. Then the Spirit gives me the strength I need, and I move on with my day.

I realize this seems overly simple. I don’t know if this will always work for me, or if it may work for you. But to call out to God in the moment of my weakness has proven humbling and energizing. I cannot do this on my own. It’s God! The Holy Spirit is teaching me this week that when I lay down my struggles, desires and decisions, He will fill me with what I need most: more of Him.

Lord of this hour

Jesus is Lord of my life.

There are times, though, that I subtly take back the power and authority I have given Him. I step out in faith of me, rather than trust in God. It’s easy to compartmentalize my heart and then conveniently overlook what is tucked in the shadows. I take back what I owe Him, trying to better organize or clean up the mess myself, as if I could do a better job.

Surrender is a daily decision. Though my salvation is complete and eternal, the fullness of God’s peace and depths of His grace can only be experienced when I am entirely living under Christ’s lordship.

I want to wake up saying, Jesus, be my Lord today. Be Lord over my words, my attitudes, my reactions. Be the Lord of my long to-do list, and my responsibility to nurture and invest in the children You’ve entrusted to me. Be the Lord of my marriage and my workplace. Be the Lord over my thought-life and my temptations. Be the Lord of this home and the ministries you’ve given for me to serve.

Be Lord over every detail and every dream.

Jesus is the Lord of my life, but I can’t only depend on Him to be in charge of my future. I need Jesus to be Lord of this very hour, this exact moment.

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their pow’r when Thou art nigh.

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is vain.

I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.

I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
Oh, make me Thine indeed, Thou blessed Son.

I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.