Self-control is tough, but once we get victory over the temptation, we have freedom. We all understand the negative behaviors in us that cause great destruction in our life and we hurt those closest to us. We know these behaviors are wrong and we begin to work to get these things under control. We stop lying. We stop losing our temper. We stop smoking, start working out, stop over-eating, doing drugs, sleeping around. Here is my big temptation 🙂 And we work very hard to control these things in our life.
The Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit pours into us self-control to help us do these things:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
Our ability to create self-control to curb these behaviors comes from God. But it is not God’s will that we only create self-discipline to end these behaviors, but that we are set free from them. God wants us to participate in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). He created us to not simply be victors, but more than overcomers (Romans 8:37). The problem with resisting sin and working to have more and more self-discipline is that we never fully get victory. And too often that behavior will raise its ugly head yet again and the cycle starts all over again. This is not God’s will for our life. And that brings me to our Verse of the Day:
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Galatians 5:13 (NIV)
Paul is teaching us here that humility and servanthood is the indicator of freedom from the fleshly desires and behaviors we are attempting to resist. When we understand this, our focus must change. We move from putting all our effort into self-control, and focus on serving others with a good attitude, humility and servanthood will rip that behavior out of our soul eventually.
When we are simply trying to stop a negative behavior without replacing that behavior with something good, we can actually make things more difficult for ourselves because we are focused so heavily on the behavior. But when we begin to focus our mind on ways to help others and be a blessing to them, our mind must release thoughts of that most hated behavior. And then we are set free. Self-control vs freedom? Self-control is good and it is from the Lord, but the goal is freedom!
Live blessed and be a blessing!
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