Self-Control: Do You Have It? Part Two

Failure in self-control leads to a person’s ego depletion and likelihood of further failure. It should not and does not need to. It can lead to “paralysis by analysis” and should not.

The Apostle Paul with this in mind found the antidote: “…one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3: 13, 14)

The elevator door opened and out stepped a young man who looked at me and instantly said, “FIDO, I remember you, you spoke to our UGA football team before a game and said, ‘If you make a mistake or blow a play don’t dwell on it —-FIDO, Forget It and Drive On.’” Several years had passed since I said that, but it had become an influence in all of his life. I commend it for use when you fail to exercise self-control. Ask the forgiveness of the Lord and resolutely press on to what is ahead. Don’t dwell on past failures. You can’t drive a car looking in the rear view mirror, and you can’t press on toward your goal reliving a past short coming.

The challenge of self-discipline is a life-long one. The Apostle Paul, as devout as he was, struggled with it saying, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”

(Romans 7: 15) He then admitted, “I find then a law, that evil is present with me….” (Romans 7: 16) He was acknowledging that though he was a new creature in Christ his old sin nature still on occasion challenged his conduct.

Anyone who has tried to do good is aware of this struggle. We never know how hard it is to stop sinning until we try. C. S. Lewis said, “No man knows how bad he is until he has tried to be good.”

Avoiding temptation requires anticipating situations where unwanted desires might emerge and taking steps to avoid the allurement. To avoid undesirable personal conduct keep your hand out of the cookie jar if you are not going to eat the cookies. Don’t put yourself in a position where it is difficult to turn back. Turn off the heat before the kettle begins to boil. Preemptively act.

The word used in Scripture to describe avoiding the powerful pull of temptation and exercise self-control is “flee” it. The word means to run from it so fast as to kick up dust.

Self-control means to stop and think of what could happen? Is that what you want? Solomon wrote: “Whoever has no control of his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” (Proverbs 25: 28)

Awaken the godliness within you.