Friday, July 1st. Self-Control
…and so train the young women… to be self-controlled… Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Titus 2:6
Are you even a Christian? Christians do not act this way… I was on my way to treatment and those around me were questioning my faith. I didn’t blame them. I was questioning it myself. The implication of the question was that Christians have self-control and those (specifically addicts/alcoholics) who have no self-control are not Christians. Put in those terms, it seems a little silly, but there is much confusion I think, regarding what it means to be a Christian and to still have a flesh nature.
Many verses seem to explicitly state that our old self has been put to death and has no dominion over us (Romans 6:6). In other places, both Jesus and Paul spoke of the flesh as being weak (Matthew 26:41), opposed to the spirit (Galatians 5:17) and having a very real, destructive effect on our lives.
So which is it? Is our flesh nature dead and gone or is it alive, exerting its continual effect on us. Can a Christian be addicted (to any flesh defect) or is addiction evidence that one is not a Christian? If we struggle with the flesh nature, does that mean we have no faith? I think many of us have found ourselves at this point. We have prayed and prayed again that God change us. Then when we fail for the thousandth time, we feel the only obvious answer is that God does not care. We are lost.
This was the dilemma that I found myself in. I was obviously enslaved to my flesh nature. I felt that God had not answered my prayers and had not changed me. Where was God? Was I not a Christian?
I desperately needed to understand the answer to these questions. I think it is something we all need to wrestle with. How do you answer it? Why do we still struggle? Does God take away all of our sinful desires when we place our faith in Christ? Why has God not changed me?
This is getting long, so my answer will have to wait until tomorrow…