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.