Every Person Can Increase Self-control: if you are still struggling you need to believe it. You can increase self-control in some area of your life. And when you do that, it will at some point help you with your addiction.
When self-control is absent Eve will look at the forbidden fruit and take it. We will likely do the same “if” we don’t focus on self-control daily.
How is self-control attained? The decision to put aside or crucify our own desires is attained through daily following the Lord. “Then He said to them all, if anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)”
Step one – deny yourself. People who know me think it is extreme that I will look away from the TV when a borderline sinful scene comes on. Or if I focus on moderation with sugar or fatty foods. But they don’t understand that I am denying myself so that I can try to be strong so that I can follow Christ and do what He wants me to do. Results: when a TV evangelist denies himself a luxury car all of a sudden a bunch of poor people get saved. Pastor Jentezen Franklin fasts (40 days of intense prayer while denying yourself food) to start every year –his first 5 or 10 sermons on the year are not to be missed.
In what 3 ways can you deny yourself 1:____________ 2:_____________ 3:________________
Step two – take up your cross daily. Many people have gone to Christian rehab for drugs/alcohol/sex/gambling and 3 weeks after they get out they are dead. They had a great experience at rehab but they did not develop a lifelong habit of taking up their cross daily. Every day Jesus has something for you to do. You must be fully motivated to get the sin out so that you can do it. You can’t take even one day off from taking up your cross. You can’t even take one day off from Bible study and prayer. You can’t even take one day off from seeking your purpose or from fulfilling your purpose. Taking up your cross daily means fighting sin tooth and nail as if God really has a purpose for you.
Step three – follow Christ. Every day Jesus has something for me to do. Now you may say, that’s you but I am me. Wrong – I was you 10 years ago. Jesus has something for you to do every day. I pray every day believing that the Holy Spirit will lead me today. If you are going to war with sin you can pray every day that the Holy Spirit will lead you as well.
Lets assume we have 100 paths we can choose to be on in life. Path # 1 is full dedication to Christ – Paul from the Bible choose that path. Most of us choose path 5 or 25 or 75. Lets assume you leave rehab, get on fire for Christ, make a dedication to Church, Bible study and prayer. You also help out at the food bank and spread the gospel every once in a while. I would guess that this is path 15.
Why is it so important that we know what path we are on? Because, unless we are on path #1 we will be highly frustrated at times. Prayers that would be answered on path # 1 are not answered for us. Sometimes everything seems to go wrong all the time. Even when you are trying hard to be obedient you get no blessing. Sometimes you feel like you are trying to be a Christian but there is no way out.
You know that full disaster is waiting for you if you go back to drugs, but you feel like your life is a disaster anyways.
I wrote this article because I thought I was on the path that God wanted me on. But I was on the wrong path. My old path was a Christian path, it was a pretty good path. But is was no where near path #1.
Now I am choosing my new higher path. I bet I will be less frustrated now. Maybe have a few more prayers answered positively. I think that now obedience will start to put me in |God’s blessing more.
When you think there is no way out, stop and examine the path you are on. God has a higher path for you. Are you willing to put in the work it will take to find joy and purpose by climbing higher?
“Where Christians must practice self-control: Self-control must be practiced in good and right things: (1) eating, (2) pleasure, (3) work, and (4) sleep. Self-control must be practiced as Christians completely abstain from: (1) fornication, (2) lying, (3) gambling, (4) drunkenness, and (5) stealing. Christians must control their temper. (Proverbs 14:29) The tongue must also be controlled by Christians. “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.” (James 1:26)”
“Self-control results from bringing our thoughts into captivity to Christ. “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) Do you have self under control?”
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA.
We “set” our affections on certain things. Much more than we want to admit, we choose what to set our affections on.
We must discipline ourselves every day, every hour, every minute to rationally order our thoughts. Focus on starving bad thoughts, emotions and desires. Focus on feeding Godly thoughts, emotions and desires.
When we study the Bible we are feeding our thoughts on things above. When we fellowship with believers we are feeding our thoughts on things above. When we focus on obedience we are feeding our thoughts on things above. Other positive things that feed our thoughts include: small Christian groups, serving the Lord, Christian music and prayer.
I can’t afford to be bitter, unforgiving, resentful or mad. Our sins and negative emotions must be starved to death. Today, focus on the destruction that negative thoughts and emotions cause you. Today, focus on the great new life you can live if you have Godly thoughts and emotions. Now choose.
Don’t you dare choose that short term pleasure that comes with all that destructions and lowers your pleasure later anyways. Today, choose life and joy.
Read Matthew 14, and Acts 3-4