Self-Control vs. Resignation of Control

As far as self-discipline, don’t be too hard on yourself.  What it is, is time and training.  (i.e.:  You train your heart in WWJD choices.)  When you first begin to do anything, walk, learn to type, ride a bike, speak a foreign language, you’re going to stumble.  It’s because it’s new.  But it’s passion and practice that makes the task more fluid and eventually second nature.  Self-control is when you do things under your own power.  God wants you to rely on him and leave it to him.  It takes practice to lean on Him – however, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”   Luckily, the verse doesn’t read “I can do all things if I try hard enough…” – We’d always fall short.

This subject reminds me of my son when he received his first pair of roller skates.  He wanted to be a pro by the end of the day.  He really WANTED to and tried very, very hard, but that wasn’t to be.  That’s because to grow stronger, you have to fall and get back up.  He’s amazing now.  My point is, you have the heart and the passion.  Truly desire Christ.  He’ll lead the way, if you let him. 

The best advice, and what’s made the most remarkable changes in my life, is to spend lots of time studying.  Read bible-based books, study courses, attend services, and if possible, join and engage in small group discussions.  I remember back when I was in self-discipline mode.  I can look back now and see how hard I was trying.  After a few years of just seeping myself in Christ, I can see the growth and so many things are just part of my nature now, that I had to conscientiously think about before.  For example, forgiveness. My old nature was to be angry if someone hurt me or was less than kind – now I pray for them.  I forgive pretty much within minutes – this is not natural to me, it’s something I’ve learned over the years.  It’s a natural reaction for me now,but wasn’t always.  Sanctification (becoming like Christ) takes a lifetime. 

My best advice would be to focus more on whom He is and not what you need to do.  Should you stumble, repent immediately, know you’re forgiven and get back on track.  Another neat thing to do is to keep a prayer journal.  Just jot down your thoughts, it doesn’t have to be elaborate.  It’s really wonderful down the road when you review old notes – you will see how God moves through your life.  I love to go through mine – it’s tangible evidence of his presence in my life and of answered prayers.


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