The only way to be self-controlled is to choose the right controller.
“Okay, wait. Isn’t that double-talk?”
Nope, though it sounds like it. You and I were created to follow something or someone. That’s the way God put it – and us – together.
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”
– Blaise Pascal, Pensées VII (425)
Check out what Paul said to the Greek philosophers. Dr. Luke wrote about it in Acts 17:22-27. There is no total self-control; you and I choose to whom we give ultimate control of our lives. Just think about it.
As an authentic Christ-follower, control has been ceded to the Holy Spirit. He leads, guides and calls the shots. We’ve all tried it God’s way and ours. We know how that always works out, right? Therefore, any believer attempting to exert control over others is stepping between them and God.
That is not a good place to be. It’s better to leave ultimate control in God’s hands. Here’s how.
- Stay wide open with God. Read Psalm 37:3-7, 34.
- Stay focused on His work and in His timing. Read Proverbs 3:5-6.
- Print Psalm 68:19 like this and keep it in a prominent place: I bless you, dear __________, for every day you bear me up and give me strength. You, ____________, are my salvation.” If you find yourself thinking of anyone’s name other than God in those blanks, go back and do numbers 1 and 2.
In case you’re still kind of mentally high-centered on that self-controlled bit, think with me. You, my friend, are the sole decider of whom you follow. YOU. You can’t toss that off on anyone or anything else.
There’s nothing wrong with accepting someone else’s suggestion if you’ve thought it through and believe it might be a good thing to try. There’s a lot wrong with frustrating yourself and being constantly on edge because you’re forever stuffing your own choices down in favor of going along with those of somebody else. That ain’t no way to live.
Trust me. It’s a miserable life.
You choose who controls your life. I’m not dictating that choice to you. I am, however, freely admitting that having chosen to allow both Heaven and Hell to exert control over my life, Heaven’s by far the best in my experience. When I’ve synced my desires, passions, and preferences with God’s Word, it’s always turned out better.
© D. Dean Boone, May 2017