Self-Control, Part III
So. Is it something I work out in myself or is it something I sit back and watch as God produces in me? Nathan says the Christian life is like being a branch grafted onto a vine (Jesus Christ). At the juncture of the two, there is a "valve." As we obey the Spirit and His Word, the valve stays open, allowing Christ´s life and power to flow through us producing the fruit of the Spirit. Disobedience begins closing the valve, and continued disobedience can actually kill us spiritually, as we starve ourselves of His life and power. Philip used the word "synergy" when I talked with him about this. It is us actively taking steps to be self-controlled, while we depend on the Holy Spirit´s power in us to accomplish what we could not otherwise. That dependence is KEY! Philippians 4:13. I can do all things THROUGH HIM who gives me strength.
My personal opinion is that we can ´fertilize´ ground we´re growing in, or fill it with toxins. In other words, we can take steps to make obedience easier or massively difficult. If I have a problem with my tongue, I can make my life more difficult by staying on the phone all day. If I have a problem with food, I can make myself miserable by having stuff in the house I KNOW I shouldn´t eat (which will call my name LOUDLY all day long). Perhaps, there is ignorance involved. Mindless, head-long rushing into self-indulgence or sin. In that case, the Bible encourages that we seek wisdom and understanding. Learn about nutrition, exercise, time management. There are websites such as the FlyLady that can give all sorts of good tips on housecleaning. Doing common sense things to slow us down and cause us to think before we act can create a healthier environment in which our Spirit-filled ´branch´ can thrive.
Proverbs 25:28 says that a man (woman) without self-control is like a city with broken down walls. Poor Nehemiah, upon inspecting the broken-down walls of the city, encountered so much rubble his horse couldn´t even walk through. I´m trying to think of this issue in this light: My lack of self-control leaves me vulnerable to attacks from the Enemy. Satan will take full advantage of my lack of defense. Next post, I want to look at the GOALS of self-control. What are they? Any thoughts?