What is Self-Control and How Do I Get It? Part Two
Titus 2:6 . . . To be self-controlled.
The irony of an addict, writing on self-control, is not lost on me. If you want to know how to lose weight though, you will not likely learn from someone who has never known the struggle. My drug addiction may be foreign to you, but we all know some struggle with self-control, whether it involves anxiety, gluttony, anger, lust or greed.
Paul urged me, in today’s passage to learn self-control. How then, do I do this? How do I stop a destructive behavior? This practice of self-control is no different than the practice of being a disciple. It is the same two-step process that Jesus commanded, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23).
Step One: Denial of self. This is not a passive process of Just Stop It. This is doing whatever it takes to kill the destructive behavior. This will be different for different defects and different people. If I am struggling with drugs, I may need treatment. If I am struggling with internet porn, my computer may need to go. I do not achieve the crucifixion of my old nature with positive thinking. I must act and obey. God works in my obedience, not in my indolence.
Step Two: I must daily pursue God, reading, praying, and meditating, seeking Him above all. I do not find self-control and God by giving Him five minutes a day and an hour on Sunday. I must daily, do what it takes to sow the seeds of His spirit in me if I want to know His fruit in my life (Gal. 5:22,23).
God does not leave me alone in this. He does meet me when I draw near to Him and He does change my desires, but this is often not the instant process I wish it to be. In my obedience, He transforms me day by day. I have not arrived. I still fail often, but I do press on, daily choosing to deny self and follow Christ.