Daily Devotion for January 21, 2013 Who Controls What?
"Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control." Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)
Ask me why my attempts at losing weight haven't been successful and I can give you a list of reasons: It was a stressful summer, I hit a "golden" number on my birthday, how could I say no to the scrumptious food on vacation? And the "best" one (the one that garnered the most sympathy) - I couldn't exercise due to a minor medical procedure on my legs.
But the bottom line is this: I lack self-control in this area of my life.
I know what I should do. Or more accurately, I know what I should NOT do. And yet when faced with a temptation, I give in. Rather than choose a modest portion size, I justify a second helping. Or I set myself up by not anticipating my weakness and buying Little Debbie Swiss Rolls thinking I'll only eat half of one. Oh, how I deceive myself.
The ability to control my own choices is a God-given gift. And yet it's one I misuse some times. Sadly rather than controlling myself, I choose to try to control other things. And end up losing control of myself.
Here was God's original plan: He controls the world. We control ourselves.
That's a great plan when you think it through objectively. God's got unlimited resources, unlimited wisdom, and unlimited power. He should be in charge of the world with that resume.
That's not what happened though. Many generations ago, in a garden with some fruit that was off-limits, we decided we didn't like that plan. In fact, we decided it was our job to control the world. After all, we have to live in it, right? Shouldn't we make the rules? Plus, we really should make sure others stay in line too. My what a big job we have trying to corral everyone! It's exhausting.
So the more we focus on God's job (controlling the world and other people) the less we do our job (controlling ourselves).
I love today's Scripture verse from Proverbs 25:28, "Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control." (NIV) This gives me a mental image of an unprotected treasure. So when an enemy tries to attack, there is no defense.
As I apply that to my life, I can see where the enemy sneaks in through my lack of self-control. Especially when I start my excuses. Whether it's excuses for over-eating, not managing my home well or over-committing myself, without self-control I'm like a bombarded city. The more I focus on what I can't control, the less I'm able to manage what I can control.
Thankfully, God has a plan in place to help us with this issue. He sent His Holy Spirit to live in us. Galatians 5:22-24 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (NIV)
As we start a new year, I'm taking a fresh look at what I can control and what I can't. I'm acknowledging my need of God's help, but I'm also acknowledging my responsibility. Thankfully I can release the load of trying to control others, because on most days, I'm as much as I can handle.
Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of free-will and self control. Forgive me when I misuse those gifts. Help me to seek Your Spirit for more self control in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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Reflect and Respond:
In what areas of your life do you have the least amount of self-control?
Think through one of those areas and consider how you have misplaced your ability to control yourself with trying to control something or someone else.
Titus 2:4-5, "Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." (NIV)
Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (NIV)