Monday, May 7, 2012

I Couldn't Stop Myself!

Have you ever heard someone say that? Or maybe,  “I just can’t help it!” These are usually excuses kids make when they do something wrong. A lot of times, after getting caught hitting another child, they’ll say something like, “But they made me so mad!” We all know this: it’s a sign of maturity to accept responsibility for our own actions. Right? There has to be a day in everyone’s life when they realize that they can control themselves!

This is even more true for believers! Galatians 5:22-23 says: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” The more time we spend driving our roots into God’s presence, the more we will be competent enough to control ourselves.

Self-control is vital for a believer. In the New Living Translation, Proverbs 25:28 says; “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” Apparently, self-control works like a defense for your life. We all know someone who’s life look like it’s been broken apart. Many times, they’ve fallen apart because they never took control of their life. Granted, not every problem in life is caused by the lack of self-control. But trust me on this, if you don’t learn to control yourself, your life will break down!

Just like the world has a counterfeit of joy (called happiness), a counterfeit kindness (called tolerance), and a counterfeit goodness (bigotry) - it also possesses a counterfeit self-control. When the world speaks of self-control, it is often referring to a gym attendance or to denying your appetite for something sweet. That’s certainly a great place to start, but Christian self-control goes far beyond the physical realm.

When the world speaks of self-control, it’s referring to your soul controlling your body. When the Bible speaks of self-control, it’s referring to your spirit controlling your soul. When this fruit of the Spirit starts to manifest in a believer’s life, he begins to understand that he is in control of his desires, his emotions, and even his thoughts. As the Holy Spirit produces self-control inside our spirit, we’ll be able to stop our soul from running away with our lives.

If there was ever a time to manifest this fruit of the Spirit, it’s now! In today’s society, there are fewer and fewer roadblocks to doing whatever you want. Without self-control, you may find yourself on the other side of some very wrong decisions, wondering what happened. Why? Because it’s easier than ever to let your soulish emotions and carnal desires rule your life. In fact, American culture has degenerated so far that believers who keep their soul in check are often considered strange.
“What? You’re waiting till you get married? No one does that anymore!”
“Are you going to let him walk all over you, just because he’s the boss?”
“Be serious - you’ve never had a drink?”
“It’s not tax evasion, it’s a ‘loophole’ - besides, they never check these things anyway!”

You see, 2 Timothy 3 gives a clear picture of what will happen to the world in the end times. Read this and see if you notice these things in the world right now. “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

Notice, right at the center of this list is “without self-control.” Isn’t that what’s happening now? Hasn’t our society done everything it can to avoid personal responsibility for people’s actions? It isn’t rebellion, it’s Attention Deficit Disorder - they can’t control themselves. It isn’t drunkenness, it’s alcoholism - they’re sick. It’s not immorality (it’s not even a choice) - they were born that way. It isn’t an outburst of wrath - their genetic code gives them a predisposition to violence.

Even in the church - where freedom should reign - we’ve locked people into their “problems”. We’ve kept people in depression, lust, addictions, and anger by telling them that they don’t have a choice, they’re sick. We’ve tried to hold support groups, but they still live in fear of returning to the bottle. We’ve tried medication, only to have it make their depression worse. We’ve been afraid to confront, for fear of driving them away.

When are we going to understand? The world struggles with these things - but Jesus came to set us free! When you gave your life to Jesus, He broke the hold that these things had on you. The old you may have been addicted, but that man died when you got saved. That other kid may have been diagnosed as ADD....but now you’re a new creation in Christ Jesus! Now the fruit of self-control is growing in your life! Now you can stop yourself! Now you have nothing stopping you from living the life that Jesus died to give you!

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