Self-Control Is Not an Option
By Rick Warren
— March 27, 2009
“For the grace of God…teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives” (Titus 2:11-12 NIV).
As we discussed yesterday, self-control is not optional for Christians. The race we are running is for eternity, and so we’re to develop a strict discipline (1 Corinthians 9:25).
Here are some other steps to self-control. Talk back to your feelings.
Do you let your moods manipulate you? God doesn’t want you to be controlled by your feelings. He wants you to master your moods. With Christ as the Master of your life, you can learn to master your feelings.
Talk back to them. Learn to challenge your emotions: “For the grace of God…teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives…” (Titus 2:11-12 NIV).
God’s grace gives us the power to do what is right. God gives you the ability to say no to that feeling, to that desire, to that impulse. Believe you can change.
The fruit of the Spirit begins in your thought life. The seeds must be planted in your mind: The way you think
determines the way you feel
, and the way you feel
determines the way you act
God gave us the power to change our habits when he gave us the power to choose our thoughts. Does Romans 12:2 tell us to be transformed by working hard at it or by sheer willpower? “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2 NIV).
What are we to be transformed by? The renewing of the mind. When your self-control is being tested, you need to fill your mind with the promises of God. First Corinthians 10:13 says, “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (NIV).
That’s a fact. If you are a Christian, you can’t honestly say, “The temptation was too strong; I couldn’t help myself.” The Bible says God is faithful. If you’re a Christian, he won’t let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
He never asks you to bear something that is bigger than the strength he puts inside of you through his Holy Spirit.