- Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Editor's note: Today's article is one of five "challenges" that accompany Lysa Terkeurst's new book Unglued (Zondervan, 2012).
Day 2: Self-Control.
The answer to keeping God’s power with me and working in me to produce self-control is letting His Word get inside me.
Verse for Today
"Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control" (Proverbs 25:28).
Have you ever been in a discussion with a loved one when something snarky gets said and suddenly your blood pressure skyrockets, your nerves fray, and the worst version of you begs to come out?
Not that this ehhhhhver happens to me, of course. Ahem. Of course, it happens to me. I live with other humans.
Whenever any kind of relationship conflict arises, my choice is whether to give the other person power to control my emotions.
When I react by yelling or flying off the handle or making a snappy comeback, I basically transfer my power to the other person. When I am void of power, I am void of self-control. So, it seems to me, if I'm going to remain self-controlled, I have to keep my power.
Now, when I say "my power," I don't mean something I conjure up myself. I am referring to God's power working in me. When I react according to God's Word, I feel that power. When I react contrary to God's Word, I feel powerless.
The prophet Isaiah provides a good reminder of what God Himself has said about tapping into His power, no matter what situation we are facing:
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without
watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower
and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return
to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I
sent it (Isaiah 55:10-11).
Did you catch that? The answer to keeping God's power with me and working in me to produce self-control is letting His Word get inside me. His Word seeping into my mind and my heart will accomplish things—good things, powerful things, things that help me display self-control.
So, all that to say, here's my new tactic: When I'm facing a situation where someone is getting on the last good nerve I have, I'm going to start quoting God's Word in the present tense. For example, if one of my sweet children starts acting not so sweet, I might say aloud (or silently reply, depending on the situation) words based on 1 Peter 5:6-8:
In this moment I'm choosing to be self-controlled and alert. Your actions are begging me to yell and lose control. I do have an enemy, but that enemy is not you. The devil is prowling and roaring and looking to devour me through my own lack of control right now. But I am God's girl. That's right, I am. I am going to humbly and quietly let God have His way in me right now. And when I do this, God will lift me and my frayed nerves up from this situation and fill me with a much better reaction than what I can give you right now. So, give me just a few minutes and then we'll calmly talk about this.
Girl, that's some power right there.
And it will make you shine with so much self-control that your kids, your friends, your spouse, your coworkers won't know what to do with you.
Can you imagine what might happen if we wrote out powerful responses from God's Word on three-by-five cards and pulled them out every time we found ourselves in a situation?
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