“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28
I did a bible study with a group of friends a couple years ago. It was a great study called Respectable Sins. I learned how some of the “nothings” in my life that I didn’t think were anything at all were actually big “somethings”. It helped me re-examine these “nothings” and place them in the category of “somethings”…where they can be addressed and worked on. Like frustration, unthankfulness, discontentment, pride, selfishness, impatience, irritability, judgementalism, envy, jealousy, and self-control. Small, sometimes unnoticeable things that are in fact big things.
Well, it seems God needed me to look at these things again. Coincidentally, a new bible study I am in is doing this book…again. Haha God, I get the point. Last week we went over the chapter on self-control and I saw it, yet again, in a new light. Obviously self-control is relevant in every single area of my life, but I recently looked at self-control in terms of my health.
So many people constantly tell me how much they wish they could lose weight, how much they wish they could do what our family is doing, and then they give me their list of why they can’t. “I could never give up bread.” “I have to have creamer in my coffee.” “I don’t have time to exercise.” “I can’t cook healthy meals.” “It just seems too hard.”
I’ve been there. Even now, I get there, more often than I would like to admit. It is more challenging to make good decisions and be healthy, that’s for sure. I understand. I really do.
That’s where self-control comes in. Or the lack there-of.
When I choose the macaroni and cheese over a bowl of chili, or pizza over a bun-less hamburger slider… I have a lack of self-control. When I eat a bowl of ice cream with toppings and chocolate syrup after just having fried chicken with fries… instead of homemade pizza with almond crust and my chocolate cupcakes that are grain and dairy free…. I have a lack of self-control. When I choose to sleep in and not get up and get active… I have a lack of self-control. When I chose the easier, more convenient route instead of what is good for my body and for my family’s bodies…. I have a lack of self-control.
What is self-control? Self control is a governance or prudent control of one’s desires, cravings, impulses, emotions, and passions. It is saying no when we should say no. It is moderation in legitimate desires and activities, and absolute restraint in areas that are clearly sinful.
Am I governing my desires, my cravings? Are you governing your desires, your cravings?
The bigger question would then be: What am I worshipping?
Taking care of my body, taking care of my family’s bodies is my spiritual worship to God. I know, I know, you might not think it has anything to do with the Lord. It does. It really does. We are battling against the passions of the flesh…and we must win! We have an unceasing conflict with the passions of the flesh. It’s all about which one we want more. Do we want what is best for us, or do we want what we want when we want it. It’s a spiritual issue.
Here’s a thought to ponder. Can our lack of self-control when it comes to our health be weakening our self-control in other areas? Is our tendency to indulge our desires allowing those desires to control us, instead of us controlling those desires? Is our lack of self-control making us vulnerable to other and all kinds of temptations?
The good news: In our individualistic, goal-oriented culture, we must remember that we are not self-reliant, we are God-reliant. We need the Holy Spirit to keep us under control, not to be self-focused, but God-focused.
We CAN put down the flesh. God is there. We CAN eat well and nourish our bodies. God is there. We can exercise. God is there. We can say no to our self-indulgent habits. God is there. This is not a product of our natural will-power, this is the grace of God. Titus tells us that the same grace that brings salvation also trains us to live self-controlled lives. And for that I am extremely thankful.
I CAN have “spirit-led” self-control. And you can too. By God’s enabling power progress CAN be made.
Is there a lack of self-control in our lives? What role might the Holy Spirit play in helping us exercise more self-control?
Do we need to remove or get away from whatever is tempting us to indulge in our desires? This certainly is not a “guilt-trip-laying” post, but a desire to have us all look at our lives and re-examine if there is a lack of self-control running amuck that we need to pull in the reigns on. I know I do. I really do.
I must say no when I should say no. I must exercise moderation and sometimes I must exercise absolute restraint. I must govern my desires and cravings…to the glory of God. I must daily remind myself that I have the grace of God available to me that will allow me to make the right decisions for myself, and for my family. I must daily remind myself that taking care of myself and my family is my spiritual worship to God.
I am armed. I am ready. Will I fail. YES! Will I immediately get back up and, by the grace of God, continue? YES! And you can too.
Start today. Throw away the excuses and exercise self-control when it comes to your health. Your whole family will thank you.
From our “Whole Family” to yours…..