Do you ever wonder why some people have more self-control than others? Why is it certain people have more discipline in their lives? Could this be a genetic trait or is it a learned behavior or maybe even some sort of Eastern meditation practice that gives them this edge? I have often wondered these things and now I know the answer: the Spirit helps people overcome their flesh (human passions and lusts).
We read in Galatians 5:17 and Romans 8:5-11 that the Spirit that lives inside of us desires what is godly and is at war with our flesh. Our flesh does not desire the things that God desires and in fact, craves what is sinful. (Thanks Adam, thanks Eve!) So we have this ever evolving conflict going on inside us each day and we have to learn to be obedient to what the Spirit wants for us and change our behaviors accordingly. It is only in this way that we can overcome and become more and more like our brother, Jesus. I say evolving conflict because as we overcome one defect we should be working on the next (known as sanctification in the formal church).
Now I have met plenty of people who seemed to have it together and were in fact not following Christ’s example. We will not concern ourselves with this type. It is disciples rather who have learned to develop this very important fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) that we should learn from. If we knew someone who loved the poor in sacrificial ways, we’d model them, right? Or if we knew a Christian woman who had more joy than the ordinary person, we would find out their favorite scriptures, right? So what do women who possess self-control do to develop stronger “muscles?” I think the following is a short list we can use:
- Acknowledge the internal tug-of-war is going on inside you
- Recognize that by yourself, you cannot win these battles
- Accept God’s power to help you overcome
- Surrender daily to God and ask him to help you listen to the Spirit and live in victory
You can do it!