Set up for Success! Living a Life of Self-Control
Self-Control can be a defeating word for many people but Christ has not called us to be defeated. He has called us to be victors in this life and he even gave us the essential tools we need to exercise self-control when it seems too difficult.
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. John 15:4-8New Living Translation (NLT)
What images come to mind when you hear the word self-control? You may think of a person who wakes up before the first crack of down to train for their upcoming marathon. Or you may see someone sadly saying no to buying that one thing they really wanted in efforts to save their money to the pay off that looming debt. Or perhaps it’s a person peeling themselves away from the table to avoid eating that second piece of delicious chocolate pie. For many, the word self-control can come across as frustrating and tiring. It’s a virtue most strive for in some way or another but very few seem to truly conquer.
The truth is, self-effort and ambition will only get us so far before we run out of steam, resources, and motivation. Jesus said it like this, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Even the most determined and motivated people can end up defeated and deflated in the midst of achieving a goal. However, the good news is Jesus didn’t leave us to accomplish our life tasks and goals on our own. He provided Himself as a source of energy and as the perfect example of self-control.
Jesus never intended for us to work out this life alone. In fact, one of the final conversations He had with His disciples before His crucifixion made that clear when He said to them, “apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Paul said it like this, “…take on an entirely new way of life-a God fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. “ (Eph 4:24 MSG)
Like a tiny oak seed planted in the ground, our new spiritual wiring contains a God fashioned life that is eagerly waiting to grow and produce all the fruits of the spirit. Even the ones that seem unreachable at times like self-control. Jesus desires us to stay connected with him and allow him to do the heavy lifting by reproducing his perfect nature in our everyday lives. The ability to exercise self-control is a part of who we are in Christ. Our responsibility is to stay connected to the source of all life and allow the fruit of self-control to grow and mature in us as we walk in the spirit. (Galations 5:16)
Father, You did not leave me to overcome this life through my sole ability and self-efforts. I can be successful in accomplishing my goals because You are with me and for me. I can rest in knowing that I am able to do all things in Christ who gives me strength. I lay down my frustrations and self-doubt at Your feet knowing that the One who overcame this world lives in me. Amen.