Day 9: I could never give up that!
Thought for the Day: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22 – 23)
Self-control is hard. We don’t like to deny ourselves. We don’t think it’s necessary. We make excuses and declare, “That’s nice for someone else, but I could never give up ____________!” (fill in the blank: soda, sugar, cupcakes, smoking . . .) For me, it’s roast potatoes and rice with gravy. I mean really – who does NOT eat that!? 😉
If we’re relying on ourselves, that excuse may be true. But there’s another level to self-control that too few of us find. In Matthew 19:23 – 24, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven . . . it’s easier for the camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
In other words, Jesus was saying that it’s hard for people who are satisfied with the things of this world to deny themselves. It’s hard for someone who is rich with excess to deny herself and be humble enough to admit, “I must give this up.” When the disciples heard this teaching, they were confused until Jesus clarified; “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (verse 26).
Maybe you’ve heard verse 26 spoken in the common context that God can make us healthy, wealthy, and get us to a new breakthrough. We tend to think of it as saying, “With God, all good things are possible! With God, all lavish things are possible!” But if you study this verse in the original context, it actually means, “With man, it is impossible to deny yourself. With man, it is impossible to make sacrifices. With man, it is impossible to have self-control. But with God, all sacrificial things are possible. With God, all self-control is possible.”
I believe this one little shift in our thinking can make us feel empowered, instead of feeling denied. Rather than giving in to the foods we crave, we can have God’s self-control to make a completely different decision, such as a decision for health . . . a decision for renewed energy . . . a decision for confidence and peace. Most importantly, a decision that honors both our body and God!