Secrets of self-control (1)
If we’re serious about taking the Bible at its words, then we’ll have to listen when it says that we have to die to self (take a look at Colossians 3). Dying to ourselves means losing grasp on all our inward desires that draw us down. At the beginning, this means controlling them: keeping a lid on them, putting hand-rails around them, hosing down fires. Start with the basics. The main reason you do things is because you like to. ‘Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.’ When you know something’s not great for you but you still do it, it’s because you want to. Sometimes we talk our way around all this. ‘It’s just the way I am.’ ‘If I’d had different parents, maybe.’ ‘The devil made me do it.’ But energy wasted on excuses is energy we could throw into moving past our problems. James points out that we like to take the path of least resistance. And giving in to temptation is usually the easiest course. The starting point for growing in self-control is facing up to what God’s said: ‘Everyone who sins is a slave to sin’ (John 8:34 NIV). Do you want more self-control? Own up to having a problem, and get specific about it. Maybe it’s food, drink, anger, words, sex, social media, exercise, time – these are all areas that can trip us up if we let them. Today put aside some time and space and get before God – and start to put the work in yourself.
Get specific. Own up to whatever it is that you need to put more self-control around. Write it down, or blog it, or tell a mature friend.