Secrets of self-control (3)
Think your feelings can’t be mastered? If Christ is your Master, then they absolutely can. Talk back to your feelings. We often put far too much emphasis on them, thinking that everything has to feel good or it’s not worthwhile. We say (or more often think) things like, ‘I don’t feel like studying…’ ‘I don’t feel like working…’ ‘I don’t feel like reading my Bible.’ Or, ‘I feel like another drink...’ ‘I feel like sleeping until midday.’ Don’t give your feelings so much authority. They’re massively unreliable. If you allow them, they’ll control and manipulate you, and you’ll end up looking back and regretting why you took the easy route, or confused about why you did something that doesn’t make sense now. Master your moods. God teaches us how to talk back to them. ‘The grace of God… teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives’ (vv. 11-12 NIV). He wants you to learn how to challenge your emotions, and He’ll give you the power to do what’s right. He’ll give you the ability to say no to that feeling, to that desire, to that impulse. What feelings or things do you think are controlling you? The problem is, by the time you’ve realised it’s controlling you, you’ve most likely already been tempted by it, and given into it, making it much harder to turn around and walk away. So you have to challenge them on a subconscious level. The moment you’re first aware of those feelings and temptations building up, refuse them. Tell yourself you’re better off without the thing you’re being drawn towards. God’s for you and He’ll help you.
Come up with something to say to your emotions when they hit you. Learn it so you can use it when the time comes. Something as simple as ‘No. Because of God’ can work.