Self-Control - Bible Bits 11

*First published November 8, 2008
The Choice
Max Lucado

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. Galatians 5:22-23/New Living Translation

I choose self-control.
I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar.
I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control.
I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith.
I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ.
I choose self-control.

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For me, self-control is a very hard thing to do. I often am able to keep my patience for a very long time, but when I explode, I explode big.

However, self-control is not just about anger, of course.

I am horrible at self-control when it comes to potato chips! I call them my "enemy." They win the battle over my self-control all the time.

As Mr. Lucado says, if I would resist listening to my body that will eventually just rot and only be influenced by God, maybe I could have more self-control. However, ironically, it takes self-control just to keep focus on God.

If I would only stop and think about "what would Jesus do" or "what would Jesus want me to do" before doing things, I could probably keep myself from doing many things I shouldn't.

I had an instance this week where I had emotionally strong feelings. I wanted SO badly to shout back with my thoughts and opinions as to the unfairness and wrongfulness of the situation. I wanted my position on the situation to be known! I wanted my hurt feelings to be known! I wanted them to see how wrong they were!

However, I tried to turn to God instead before speaking. Would my words help things or make them worse? Would the words hurt others? What was the motivate behind my words -- just to justify myself? I am already justified with God. He knows how I feel. He knows my heart. I really did not need anyone else to know my heart but God.

The time turning to God allowed me to calm my emotions down and gain self-control. Self-control over one's mouth, whether eating or speaking, is what I believe to be most people struggle with. It is the one part of our bodies that gets into the most trouble.

I may have blogged about this before, but Mr. Lucado's words "I will be taught by Christ alone," brought this to mind. It is something that has helped me keep self-control.

Whenever someone rubs me the wrong way, I think of them like sandpaper. They are refining me and making me better.

I try not to look at them as someone who is annoying. I try not to think about how that person needs to change. Rather, I think about how I can be changed by this person.

I have made it a habit (especially when I do not know what else to do) to ask God "what are you teaching me." If someone is rubbing me the wrong way, there must be something that God is teaching me through this person. I want to ask God to help me understand what he is teaching me when nothing makes sense. He has a plan for me and is always working on me, but sometimes I just do not listen.

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