I would have to admit that the biggest battle of my life is with my ‘self’. I’m constantly having to pull my ‘self’ into line, give my ‘self’ a good talking to and keep an eye on my ‘self’.
Sound familiar? Its very much the battle Paul talked about in Romans 7. Try reading from verse 7 onwards and see if Paul isn’t talking about your life?! I love Paul’s honesty as he deals with fleshly desires. Likewise he bring us back to Christ as the answer.
A long time ago (like around 10 years ago) a friend gave me piece of paper with six points on it. The paper I had didn’t have a name on it so I did some research and found it had come from Rick Warren. While I repeat the article here as a reference, it isn’t the total answer as our life doesn’t fall into six convenient categories.
To me the power over our flesh comes from having more of God in our life and less of self. I have been amazed lately how often the sin of selfishness is at the root of other sins. When watching a series of sermons on marriage by Mark Driscoll called Peasant Princess many of the problems experienced in relationships came down to the issue of selfishness and ‘wanting’ rather than ‘giving’. Its amazing how often we complicate our sin with excuses but when the rubber hits the road its plain old greed and selfishness.
I think John the Baptist summarised the ‘whole of life’ approach in John 3:30 when he said “He must increase, but I must decrease”. John was talking of the ministry of Jesus as others around him were concerned John might be ‘missing out’. In all our endeavours Satan seeks to see us fall the same way he did, by drawing attention to our own wants in order that like him we might fall through pride and self sufficiency. Through the word we realise our dependence must be on Christ and him alone.
These two verses probably sum up this thought. Firstly let Jesus have first place in our lives so that the there is no place for selfish desire;
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13:14
Secondly seek to grow in maturity so that the we can be fruitful in our lives and desires.
“5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7
SUCCEEDING THROUGH SELF-DISCIPLINE
By Rick Warren
High achievers usually have one obvious thing in common: personal discipline. Successful people are willing to do things that average people are unwilling to do.
I’ve observed that successful people express self-discipline in six key ways:
SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE MASTER THEIR MOODS. They live by their commitments, not their emotions. People who do the right thing even when they don’t feel like it accomplish most of what gets done in the world! “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28
SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE WATCH THEIR WORDS. They put their minds in gear before opening their mouths. “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3
SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE RESTRAIN THEIR REACTIONS. How much can you take before you lose your cool? “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11
SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE STICK TO THEIR SCHEDULES. If you don’t determine how you will spend your time you can be sure that others will decide for you! “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil..” Ephesians 5:15-16
SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE MANAGE THEIR MONEY. They learn to live on less than what they make and they invest the difference. The value of a budget is that it tells your money where you want it to go rather than wondering where it went! “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.” Proverbs 21:20
SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE MAINTAIN THEIR HEALTH. That way they can accomplish more and enjoy their achievements. “that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor.” 1 Thessalonians 4:4
Where do you need to develop more self-control? The disciplines you establish today will determine your success tomorrow. But it takes more than just willpower for lasting self-control. It takes a power greater than yourself. Think about this promise from the Bible this week: “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
The more I accept God’s control over my life, the more self-control He gives me!