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Wednesday

May 20th - Sweet Self Control

Sweet Self Control

(Proverbs 5:1-23;

6:20-35;

7:1-27;

12:16;

14:16-17, 29;

15:18;

16:32;

19:11, 19;

20:1, 25;

22:14, 24-25;

23:19-21, 26-35;

25:8, 28;

29:3, 8, 11, 20, 22)


Lay’s Potato Chips Ad

1960s


“I can’t stop myself.”


Self control is tough! Remember the old Lay’s potato chip ads? These catchy television and print commercials appealed to our cravings for salty and crunchy snacks, while pointing out our human frailty in the self control department.


What cravings taunt you the most?


What is the toughest temptation you face? It may be something seemingly safe, such as chocolate, coffee or even comic books. Isn't self control much more than the struggle over dieting or an exercise program? Maybe we need more than nutritionists and personal trainers, although these folks can be quite helpful to many.


Certainly, anything that allures us to overindulgence may test our self control. What about shopping or spending? Television or video games? Online social networking, such as Facebook or MySpace? Even exercise can be an addiction for some. None of these issues are inherently wrong, so long as they do not overtake us.


What stretches us past our own will power? What lures us away from moderation and the Lord's leading in our lives?


Often, addictions test our self control, stretching us past what we can even imagine. Alcohol, drugs, tobacco, pornography, adultery, eating disorders and other dangerous habits may threaten our self control.


The book of Proverbs speaks often about self control, while warning against destructive practices and temptations. Today’s readings mention several: adultery, drunkenness, gluttony, impatience, mockery, prostitution, rash rage, sloth and more. Throughout these passages, God’s Word points to the importance of self discipline and self control.


What a tall order.


How can we gain self control?


Perhaps we need a new term. Maybe true self control is impossible. Could it be that we really need something much greater.

Holy Spirit control ----> self control.


Self control is listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. If God’s Spirit dwells within us, then He will do the work He has promised to do.


“But the fruit of the Spirit is

love, joy, peace, patience,

kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

gentleness and self-control.

Against such things there is no law.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus

have crucified the sinful nature

with its passions and desires.

Since we live by the Spirit,

let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

(Galatians 5:22-25, NIV – emphasis added)


Will we invite the Lord to live in our hearts? Will we step out of the way and let Him take control? Surely, if God steers our souls, then our thoughts, words and actions should follow.


Disney’s Pinocchio had a personal conscience, in the character of Jiminy Cricket. Do we not, as believers in the living God, have an even more personal and powerful advocate and aide in the Holy Spirit Himself?


Maybe it’s time we shunned self control and yielded to the Lord’s control instead. Personally, I know I need to do this daily. Perhaps that’s the main meaning of dying to self and living to Christ (see Romans 6:8).


I'm giving up on self control. May God give me the grace to give in to Him instead.


Disney’s Jiminy Cricket

and His Conscience


Will you pray with me?


Great God,

Our ever-present Help and Guide,

We have grown tired

And frustrated

With our own failed attempts

To muster up self control

And stop sinning.

We yield ourselves to You.

Take up Your dwelling

In our hearts.

Take control of our souls.

Steer our thoughts,

And remind us quickly,

If we become distracted

From Your truth.

We long for

Holy Spirit control

In our lives.

We trust You

And love You.

Help us to honor You daily.

Amen.


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