06 Mar A City Without Walls: The Importance of Self-Control
THE INNER WAR
You have a war going on inside you. It’s your spirit and your flesh. Paul knew this war really well.
In Romans 7 he says, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do I have the desire to do what is good, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”
Have you ever felt like that? Like you do what you don’t want to do and don’t do what you really want to do?
All this month on the blog and podcast, we’re talking about growing in Christ. Growing up in our faith.
Part of growing is learning to control our flesh. As long as we’re on this earth, there will always be a war between our flesh and our spirit. We must learn how to be self controlled.
THE MARSHMALLOW TEST
In the late 1960s, a group of researchers tested a group of four-year-olds to record their willpower. The researchers had every child placed in a room with a table. On the table was a plate with one marshmallow on it.
Each child was told that they could either eat the marshmallow right away, or, if they waited until the researcher came back, then they could have two marshmallows.
Most children said they would wait, but some failed to resist the temptation of eating the marshmallow right away. Some waited less than a minute before eating!
The researchers did follow-ups with each preschooler and found that those children who were able to delay gratification were less likely to have behavioral problems, drug addictions, or obesity by the time they started high school. They also scored an average of 210 points higher!
This study showed the reason why self-control is one of the fruits of the spirit. It’s so important to cultivate in our lives because it effects everything else.
A CITY WITHOUT WALLS
Proverbs 25:28 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”
In ancient times, leaders would build walls around the perimeter of their city limits. Think the Great Wall of China.
The walls created a form of protection against an enemy army. Without a wall, the city was open to destruction. Think Jericho.
We’re the same way. So many times we look at self-control as the rules that don’t let us have any fun. But, in reality, self-control is the protection we place around us to keep us from self-destructing.
We are wise when we choose to build the walls around our lives.
But like a wall, self-control doesn’t just show up overnight. We have to work at it.
Thankfully, we don’t have to do it alone. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” He gives us His Holy Spirit. His strength, His love, His power to say no to the things we need to say no to.
Whether that’s saying no to having the last word or having that vice or watching that show. Whatever it is.
It may hurt for a little while, but in the long run, it will be worth it.
SELF-CONTROL HAS A RIPPLE EFFECT
The truth about self-control is that a lack of it in one area of your life, it will make every other area of your life more susceptible to a lack of self-control, too.
One area that I find Christian women struggle with…it’s food. It’s like the enemy knows he can’t trick us or tempt us with the “big” sins, so instead he finds subtle ways for food to take the place of God in our lives.
Do you think I’m over exaggerating?
Have you ever had a day that you were spot-on with your eating? You had a killer workout and stuck with the plan. The next morning, you jump on the scale and find that you didn’t lose an ounce. And all of a sudden, your day went from great to horrible.
Or maybe you had a rough day at work, so you dive into a bowl of ice cream. Ever had a day like that?
In both situations, we’re putting food above God in our lives. I know it sounds harsh. But it’s the truth for a lot of us.
THERE’S FREEDOM IN TRUTH
How can I say that? Because I’ve been there. I get it. I know what it’s like to have food control your life. I loved the Lord and was serving Him whole-heartedly, but food was causing a divide between Him and me.
It wasn’t until I began to really internalize the truth about what God thinks of me that I was able to make strides in changing my emotional eating. And you can do the same!
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