Does God Really Expect Us To Control Ourselves?
We live in a world that is in constant turmoil and chaos. People are murdering other people over mundane things. Children are raped and molested on a daily basis. Lying, stealing, and cheating are second nature to some. We see many people who commit fornication to fulfill their sexual urges. Does God really expect us to control ourselves?
God has never given an impossible commandment. He wants us to show self-control. Self-control is best described as self-discipline or self-denial. The Greek word for "self-control" comes from two words, the preposition meaning "in", and the verb meaning "to hold", hence suggesting a holding of oneself in.
The apostle Paul best described the fleshly spiritual war that each of us face in Romans 7:19, "For the good that I will to do, I do not do, but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." Paul, as most of us do, had a struggle in his own body to do what is right. How did he overcome this battle? By exercising self-discipline. Consider this passage, "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection. . . lest I myself should become disqualified" (I Corinthians 9:27). The best way to gain self-control is to, "Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established" (Proverbs 16:3). If we have our minds focused on godly things we will not have time to focus on fleshly things. In exercising self-control we each need to think back to the Mount of Olives, and remember the words Jesus Christ uttered, "... Not my will, but yours, be done" (Luke 22:42). The apostle Paul sums it up by saying, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of a good report, if there be any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things." (Philippians 4:6-8).
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