Monday, September 24, 2012

September 25, 2012

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;"  II Peter 1:5-6

Self-control is mentioned here as one of the graces that must be developed to work out the faith that God imparts to believers. According to Peter that faith gives us "everything we need for godliness".

Self-control is also listed among the gifts of the Spirit that are evidence of a life filled with the Holy Spirit.

Cleary, self-control, the ability to get a grip on your passions and emotions, is a sign of Christian maturity.

The are three options I have observed for dealing with life:

1) Self-Dedication

By this I refer to a totally self-indulgent life-style. This attitude of life not only lacks self-control but it has no desire for self-control.

A self-dedicated person gratifies every whim as often as possible. Whatever this person wants they get it.

Greed, lust and sensuality are al they live for.

2) Self-Medication
The lack of self-control characterized by the self-dedicated life leads to feelings of anxiety, loss of self-respect, shame, depression and addicitons. In an attempt to deal with the emotional and psychological pain caused by self-indulgent behavior, a person will self-medicate with one or more of the following:
*Alcohol consumption (I need a drink)

*Food as comfort

*Eating disorders

*Exercise disorders

*Gaming (OnLine Gaming Anon) (1/10 young people)

*Internet activities (61% addicted – FB, Twitter, stock trading, gambling, etc)

*Prescription drugs (1/12 HS seniors– Vicodin 1/20 — OxyContin)

12-17 year olds abuse prescription drugs more than ecstasy, heroin, crack/cocaine and meth combined.

*Substance abuse (cigarettes, marijuana, meth, cocaine, etc)

*Sexual promiscuity


Unfortunately, these behaviors not only fail to help you get a grip on life but instead get a grip on your life.
3) Self-Control
Of course, this is the only acceptable life-style for Christ-followers. Rejecting a life of self-indulgence and a life of self-medication takes a strength greater than you have.
How then do I achieve the self-controlled life?
That will be answered over the next several blog posts. But for now, which life-style most characterizes you?
What has a grip on you?



September 24, 2012

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control"  II Peter 1:5-6
God, through Christ, has given you everything you need for godliness. That is amazing truth!
Now it is up to you to allow God's Spirit to develop these graces to live out through your attitudes and actions. Peter urges you to "bend every energy" toward adding to your faith. The word for "add" means to support what God wants to accomplish.
You are to add to your faith moral courage to choose what is right and the practical knowledge to discern what is right.
To "goodness" and to "knowledge" you are to add "self-control".
Uh, oh! That's a tough one!
According to William Barclay, the word used for "self-control" means literally "the ability to take a grip of oneself".
Do you have a grip on yourself?
Are you in charge of your emotions or do your emotions get the best of you?
Which has a stronger hold on you faith or feelings?
The battle between reason and passion IS the struggle of the human condition. No one really wants to live and indifferent life devoid of passion. Nor should you live an indulgent life
giving in to every passionate desire.
Bringing these two in balance is further complicated for a Christian who has a sinful will at war with the Spirit of God. This is a struggle you are probably familiar with. The great Apostle Paul was and expressed it like this:
"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:15-25
As you identify with the frustration expressed in these verses, take hope from the knowledge that both Paul and Peter discovered how to live with great passion under the grip of self-control!
Are you struggling to get a grip on your emotions? Do you find yourself still struggling to balance passion and reason?
I will be dealing with that this week. You will not want miss any of the upcoming posts!
In the meantime, yield your struggle to the Holy Spirit and lean on His strength!