Wow, this passage hit me hard. Did you catch that last part? Jesus gave his life so that we could be free from sin. He did all this for us, yet we still choose over-and-over to follow after our sinful nature, instead of relying on God and walking passionately after righteousness and holiness. Jesus gave his life so we could walk in freedom, unbound to sin!
So how do we do that exactly? We rely on God mainly, but we must also practice this thing called self-control.
It says in Proverbs 25:28 “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” Without self-control, we are like a house that has shattered windows and broken locks, it is easy for robbers to come and steal anything they want. When we lose self-control we become easier to attack. The enemy will seize his opportunity to walk right into our house and cause havoc. That is why we must practice self-control.
Self-control is important in many areas. We need self-control to not eat the other bowl of ice cream. We need self-control to not check Facebook or our phones every few minutes. We need self-control when it comes to physical boundaries in dating relationships. We need self-control when it comes to the words we speak. We need self-control in our finances and spending of our money. (I am not saying all these things are sins, but they lead to sin like gluttony, lust, adultery, etc…) There are so many others areas, and we all struggle with different things when it comes to our own self- control.
For many I believe it comes down to our thought process. We start to think about something whether it is a person we are attracted to or our own self-image and thinking down on ourselves.
This is a critical moment, when these thoughts enter our mind without any invitation we choose right then whether we are going to accept or deny it. If we accept the thought it will just keep coming back because it feels welcome. But if we choose to not accept it and dwell on that thought it will start to come less and less, until it stops coming at all. Make sense?
It is always hard at first because we have become accustomed to welcoming those thoughts and allowing our minds to wander. Something very simple to do is replace that initial thought with something else, like truth from Scripture
Say for example, you are thinking about eating another huge bowl of ice cream and you’re actually full, but it tastes so good that you have to have it. Remember the verse in 1 Corinthians 6 that says, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (v. 19-20)
I don’t know what areas you are struggling with keeping self-control in, but try to pinpoint the thoughts that lead you to them, and do some research to find Scripture to replace the lies and destructive thoughts.
One thing that is good to remember in this is that you will probably feel like you are not strong enough to do this on your own. When you feel weak you can rely on God because He is our strength (Ps. 18:2, 28:7) and remember that you are never alone (Deut. 31:8, Psalm 73:23-24, Matt. 28:19-20, Heb. 13:5-6).