I want to document what I am learning, as I am learning it, about self-control. It has been an interesting couple of months trawling the scriptures, looking for something, anything, which may tell me why I struggle to control my appetite.
I have written down dozens of scriptures over the last few weeks, and have been fascinated in all I have revealed. For some of you this may be such basic common sense that you wonder how on earth I don’t already know this. In all honesty I probably do to some extent do, but I need to now take what is basic head knowledge and make it heart knowledge by giving all to God.
Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)
This was an interesting one, the idea of disciplining my body in order to make it my slave. Is discipline the same as self-control? I had a peek at the synonyms the thesaurus gave:
Self control: willpower over one’s actions
Synonyms for self-control: dignity, discretion, poise, restraint, reticence, self-discipline, sobriety, stoicism, abstemiousness, aplomb, balance, constraint, discipline, repression,reserve, self-government, stability, self-constraint, strength of character
Don’t you just love some of those words? Dignity, poise, strength of character……I want me some of that! I giggled as I read these words because y’know what? I am none of those things. I’m certainly not dignified. I open my mouth waaaay too quickly without engaging brain far too often. I have no poise at all! As far as strength of character…well, I know I have overcome a lot throughout my life but not one obstacle/ mind-set or damage could I have healed from had it not been for God’s guiding hand.
But the scripture above states that Paul disciplines his body and makes it his slave. Not God but Paul. Not God but Claire. Urryuck! I don’t like that 🙁 I want God to sort it. He has sorted so much, why not this? My gorgeous mother-in-law, who is definitely my Titus 2 lady, has said to me that she believes this is something God wants me to do. It kind of reminds me about the title of a book ‘You can’t walk on water if you never get out of the boat‘. Maybe ‘I can’t ever become self-disciplined if I never learn to say no’. The miracle only happens if Faith is displayed first.
So, to go back to the original scripture, I need to live my life not in an aimless way but with purpose (I run in such a way, as not without aim); and not an ineffectual way (I box in such a way, as not beating the air) but (and this is important) I need to live my life in such a way that I dictate what my body does, not my body. Ha! Does this mean my body has a mind of its own? Well, I know it does! It’s called my mind 🙂 I hear it often being said, that a battle of the bulge is ultimately a battle of the mind. I can testify that it sure does feel that way! But I wonder if I have had this wrong all these years. Maybe, just maybe, it is deep in my spirit where this battle, any battle in fact, is won. Is it not there that we find God’s calm voice, His strength, His guidance and His help?
Maybe it is my spirit which needs to learn to dictate and control my mind and my body. My spirit needs to call the shots. And maybe this is what Paul is talking about when he states that he makes his body his slave.
Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (Genesis 2:7)
You see our spirit is God-breathed; it is where the power is to be found; it, in fact, is what makes our body alive:
…the body apart from the spirit is dead……(James 2:26)
This spirit is a gift from God and it is this spirit which gives us hope to conquer that which we struggle with. And it is this spirit which gives us power, love and ultimately self-control:
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Next time, I will be working my way through some more scripture verses and sharing all God is teaching me <3