• Jack Selcher

Self-Control -- Regular or High Test?

Many of us consider lack of self-control our greatest character weakness. In the United States 40 million are addicted to tobacco, 18 million to alcohol, 4.2 million to marijuana, 1.8 million to pain killers, 821,000 to cocaine, and 426,000 to heroin.1 Other addictions abound -- hobbies, food, gambling, etc. Word control is a huge self-control challenge. Angry outbursts, gossip, toxic criticism and foolish talk easily spout from our mouths. “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless" (James 1:26, NIV). Regular self-control often fails.

Regular self-control does not depend on God. It puts the sinful nature in charge of controlling sin. That is like putting a fox in charge of a hen house. Regular self-control is a limited resource. Some of us start with a small cup of patience for the day, some with about four drops! The more we need to be patient, the less patience we have left. When it is gone, so is our self-control!

God has a superior self-control strategy. It seems ironic, but allowing the Holy Spirit to control us produces high-test self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). That also means that high-test self-control cannot co-exist with letting passion, pleasure or pride control us. High-test self-control, like love, is a gift from God, but like the gift of athletic ability, our effort is required to fully develop it. Paul disciplined his body and kept it under control (1 Corinthians 9:27). We give our all, but high-test self-control is more than self-effort.

Self-control implies an internal battle. An all dessert diet sounds attractive, but some things we desire must be denied or controlled for our own well-being. High-test self-control is more about saying yes to God’s control than saying no to the particular temptation we face. High-test self-control is experienced and exercised by trusting Christ to do in and through us what we could never do by willpower alone. .#freechristiandiscipleshipresources #freeevangelismresources #freechristianleadershipresources #selfcontrol

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Photo: Focus on the Family | Unsplash

1. https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/10-most-common-addictions/

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