April 22, 2022
The Battle for Self-Control
[Jesus Christ] gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good (Titus 2:14 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Our family adopted a sweet new puppy who is melting our hearts. Her playful curiosity keeps us laughing every day. Yet the challenges of housetraining and chewing demand supervision to keep her—and the house—in one piece!
To provide a safe space for our puppy, I set up a pen with a latching gate. We added a soft blanket and toys to keep her comfy and entertained. It seemed the perfect place to play when we couldn’t give her our full attention.
Yet I soon realized the pen wasn’t so perfect after all. Its flimsy latches were no match for an active puppy who wanted out! No matter how I tried to secure the gate, she pushed through or climbed right over the top to freedom. Needless to say, the pen is now in storage and a sturdy dog crate stands in its place.
Sometimes the “gates” I place around myself don’t hold firm when I need them, either.
Impulsive spending wreaks havoc on my budget.
I binge on caffeine as a substitute for sleep.
People-pleasing turns my priorities and schedule upside-down.
Screens capture far too much time and attention.
My resolve doesn’t hold up to stress, fatigue, or temptations that come my way.
Maybe you, too, know the limits of your will and the battle to master your impulses. The Bible says we show self-control when we obey His Word instead of doing our own thing. Self-control takes authority away from the enemy, our flesh, and other people and submits itself to God.
Yet how do we show self-control when temptation feels too strong? How do we obey God when He doesn’t make sense? How do we move through overwhelming fear? Good news—our compassionate God gives all we need!
Titus 2:11-14 reveals God’s promises to those who want to live self-controlled lives for Him:
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Did you catch the key to self-control? It’s not our willpower but the grace of God Himself.
First, God’s grace offers salvation to you and me. We’re set free from sin’s power. We receive the “light of life,” so we never have to walk in darkness again (John 8:12). Old habits no longer define us because “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). God takes the throne of our hearts as our King.
Next, God equips us to live by His Word. We receive His Spirit, who “is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us” (1 Corinthians 2:12). He clears away the confusion of how to apply the Bible to our lives, “explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words” (v. 13). As the Word is made alive in us, we bear the fruit of self-control. Our thoughts, words, and actions align with God’s ways and will.
Finally, we’re graced with the family of God: “a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14). We challenge each other to keep the faith. When temptation calls, we help each other listen to the Shepherd. In life’s sufferings, we hold each other up. We “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” as we grow in self-control, together (Hebrews 10:24).
Do you long to be responsive to God instead of reactive to your circumstances? Are you crushed under a burden of guilt? Go to God for a fresh start. Immerse yourself in the transforming truth of the Word. Reach out to others so you can follow Him side by side. Let God’s grace renew every part of your life.
Dear Lord, I wake up eager to battle my weaknesses, but before day’s end, I fall once more. Forgive me for choosing my way over yours. Help me to know your Word and how to live by it. Provide a wise and godly friend to walk the journey of faith by my side. Bear the fruit of self-control in me. I want to love and follow You with my whole heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Name one struggle or temptation that consistently gets the best of you.
What would change if you depended on God’s grace for victory?
Who could offer encouragement in your faith struggles today?
Click on comment and share in one word an area of your life you need prayer. Then pray for the name above yours.
More from the Girlfriends
Our kids fight their own battles for self-control. You grieve the hurts they suffer for their choices, and you long for them to trust in Jesus. Joanna and her husband, Rob, created Powerful Prayers for Your Son and Powerful Prayers for Your Daughter to help you pray for your child in the joys and struggles they face. These targeted prayers invite God’s power to work in their lives as they grow.
© 2022 by Joanna Teigen. All rights reserved.