What More Can I Do?
“Ok,” we all say, “I’ve said yes to Jesus, I’ve committed, I’ve yielded my life to him, but there’s this one area of my thought life, my habits, my feelings, that’s particularly stubborn. Overall, I’m the Lord’s, but in particular, I’m out of control (which last time we discovered is actually under the control of our sinful inclinations).
Adding Knowledge to the Mix
We can do more. The Apostle Peter said in the first chapter of his second letter that God’s power has given us the ability to add to our goodness knowledge of what’s good, right and beneficial. That knowledge will add to our self-control, which is yieldedness to the Spirit of God to control our particular thoughts, feelings and actions.
The reason a lot of people struggle to be self-controlled, that is controlled by the Spirit in a certain area, is because, even if they have been genuinely redeemed and are good people, they’re absolute dummies about what’s good, right and beneficial. They’re dummies because they haven’t done the work of growing in knowledge, haven’t done the heavy lifting, put in the time, paid their dues to become experts in the eternal. That’s why a lot of wonderful people still make stupid choices, because they’re not spiritually and Biblically literate! Are you willing to do what it takes? You’re taking a good step by following this stream.
Here is the Apostle Peter’s step-by-step process to self-control! Think of what you’re struggling to control. Which step are you on?
1) It begins in the heart by becoming good. We do that by repenting and being indwelt by the only One who is good, that is God, through his Holy Spirit.
2) Then one has to grow in knowledge about what’s good and why it’s good. We do that through a journey of growing in the Word through regular reading and listening to good teaching and generally growing intellectually about what’s good and right and beneficial.
3) That’s when we submit to what we know is good. This is the time when our will is challenged and, because we’re good and because we know what’s good, we choose the good.
4) Then perseverance, we stick with and keep doing what’s good!
Will You Do It?
Now, are you willing to do what it takes to get unstuck? You know what to do and you know that God says that in him you can do it. Are you willing to do it? Are you bold enough to follow God into his best for you? It will be so rewarding when you do! Self-control is a bomb with a long fuse. It takes a long time to retrain our inclinations, but when we do, we have freedom from, and a powerful uniqueness in, the world.
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Houdini’s failed escape from the small prison in the British Isles (that I mentioned in Part 1) became world-famous. People discovered that nothing he could do, master though he was, could work an escape from the jail that trapped him. He had done everything within his considerable power to gain control and so at last he gave up. He fell exhausted against the door…which sprang open. It had never been locked. Stop your striving, stop your futile efforts to overpower sin. Give up and give it over to God and you’ll find your freedom has already been provided for.