Secrets of self-control (2)
Put your past behind you. ‘This one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining forward toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal’ (Philippians 3:13 NIV). The Bible ends the lie that’ll hold you back from self-control: ‘once a failure, always a failure.’ Maybe you’ve taken that lie on board, thinking, ‘Oh, I’ve tried to kick that habit, over and over, but I’ll never get control of it.’ That’s just a lie that you’ve internalised. Paul says, ‘We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.’ (2 Corinthians 4:9 TLB). Ever watched a baby learning to walk? They watch others walking, get a desire to try it, and then do it. And fall. A lot. But they don’t stay down: they keep trying, and then they get it. Eventually they just get back up one more time than they stay sat down. Failure in the past doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to change. Maybe it’s kicking a habit, forgetting a hurt, learning a new skill, or learning some practice of God’s kingdom that’s bold and a little scary. Failure in the past doesn’t mean you can’t be effective now. But focusing on past fails does pretty much guarantee you’ll repeat them. It’s like driving forwards while only looking in the rear-view mirror. You’re going to hit something, soon. Imagination is key. You have to get better at imagining a new future than you are at remembering the past’s failures. With the Lord’s help, your vision of a new future will carry you through.
Imagine yourself living effectively in the area you want to. Then do it. Then imagine again. Then do it. And again.