Knowing this topic was coming along, my brain entered that field — and frustration and fear took over. I'm usually just not so sure that self-control is well exhibited by me, even after all these years of walking with the Lord. MAYBE I can squelch the knee-jerk response to an event or a person that would reveal a true LACK of self-control, but that's not the real godly quality. For instance, when someone cuts in front of me in traffic and I choose to not rear-end them or scream at them, that's not so much self-control as it is trying to remember that my license plate has a God-oriented message and I don't want to embarrass Him [of course].
When I'm fasting, self-control can be a problem. The best way to avoid temptation to momentarily break the fast or make a seriously wrong food choice -- creme brule, for instance, or a pile of M&Ms -- is to not go to any location that has those tempting items. But, that's not true self-control. REAL self-control would be if I went to Panera or Olive Garden or Taco Bell and sat there letting the food be passed by me, their lovely sights and odors encompassing me, and I could look on calmly and sip water. Quite possibly my reaction would be to tackle someone and grab the food as it dropped towards the ground. The safest way to handle this is to sit in my home office, my brain and fingers moving so I can keep myself distracted from those goodies.
My husband and I were lying in bed recently, headed towards sleep, and I brought this topic up. He said, "Well, since I've been out of work, you've had self-control, and not been out shopping for things we don't need. Right?" That's not self-control; that's facing reality. [He's been out of his career-based job for over 1-1/2 years -- only God, through our church and friends and side jobs, has kept us from going under.]
So, honestly, it's easier to try for “others-control” and keep the atmosphere livable and comfortable than it is to deal with the various aspects of self-control. Not that that's a life-style my Heavenly Father would allow me to promote, but, overall, it really IS easier, doncha think?
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