A 40 Day Journey to Becoming Like the One We Follow
Day 11: Self-Control (Luke 4:1-4)
How are your New Year’s Resolutions going? Have you kept up with your new diet? Have you been going to the gym regularly? Have you continued to cut out those unnecessary purchases and save more money?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Everyone has self-control until Oreo releases a new flavor, or until there are donuts in the break room.
But let’s up the stakes a bit more. If you had the unlimited power of the Creator of the universe at your disposal…what would you do? What if you had been fasting for over a month? What if you were near the limits of what the human body can survive without proper sustenance?
Would you turn desert stone into dessert scones?
Whether it’s Satan jabbing at us in our “Achilles’ heal” or our own fickle human nature, self-control is one of the hardest virtues to master. It seems like willpower alone isn’t enough most days, and there is science to back that up. Some studies suggest we have a limited supply of willpower that diminishes throughout the day, a phenomenon called “ego depletion.” Slowly over time we give up and let the monkey drive the bus. Self-control takes a back seat.
How crazy is it that we don’t even have control of ourselves?
It’s just like what Paul described in Romans 7 – the good I want to do, I don’t do; and the bad things I don’t want to do, I end up doing. Paul’s solution? Radical reliance on the indwelling Holy Spirit, the extreme grace of Christ Jesus, and the assurance that with God on our side nothing can stand against us.
Ultimately, each one of us has to answer for the way we lived our lives – and there are much worse things than cheating on your diet. Willpower alone isn’t enough to live the kind of life God has called us to. We can’t “rise and grind” our way to heaven. We have no choice but to rely on the transforming power of Christ Jesus.
Maybe instead of trying to control everything ourselves, we should turn over control to the one who actually got self-control right.