Many of you have heard of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve's boys. Abel offered a good sacrifice to God, but Cain's sacrifice was unacceptable. Cain got ticked off, but God told him something I find interesting: "Sin is crouching at your door and it desires to rule you. But you must master it!" Cain probably had thoughts of killing his brother right then and there, but God tried to tell him to control himself and not to give in to that temptation.
As the story goes, Cain invites his brother to take a walk with him. Then Cain murdered his brother. He lost his self control. He had to pay a penalty because of it.
What would have happened had Cain controlled his murderous urges? Maybe great things would have happened for him. He could have been the father of great leaders and great nations. But we would never know because Cain lost his self control.
When you lose that self control, you would never know what the alternative outcome would look like for your life. Whenever you lose control of yourself, you lose the opportunity to receive better things for yourself.
Having an addiction is perhaps the ultimate test of self control. Your fleshly urges are so strong that they mentally wear you down. The stronger your urges, the weaker your will power, and often times, your fleshly urges win. But it's not so much that your urges are powerful: it's because you severely lack self control.
Every time you lose control of your body and give in to addiction, you would never know the blessings that you could have been rewarded for resisting temptation. You would spend your life giving in to your urges and missing out on great opportunities for yourself.
Have you ever known the blissful feeling of not giving in to temptation? No? Well, you never will if you keep losing control over your body.
On rare occasions, I would have new people come to my fitness classes, stay for a few tracks, and then leave. The intensity was more than what they were used to. Self control, in this case, would have been to stay for the entire class and modify the intensity. But instead of doing that, they just quit. How good would they have felt had they stood for the entire class? Well, they'll never know because they quit too early. Their fleshly desire to quit was stronger than their self control.
What things could you have accomplished had you not given in to your fleshly desire? Again, you won't know because you have lost self control.
Self control could be defined as the ability to FORCE yourself to do something that you don't want to do, or to FORCE yourself to NOT do something that you want to do. Self control is navigating your thoughts, emotions, and actions for your own good. Instead of thinking, feeling, and doing things that will ultimately ruin you, you will think, feel, and do things that will ultimately improve you.
If it doesn't improve you, then you don't need to do it. And if you don't need to do it, then you need to have self control. Having self control takes practice!
Think back on the Cain and Abel story. God told Cain to master the sin that is crouching at his door. Tigers, lions, cheetahs, and all those "big cats" crouch before attacking their prey. Your physical desires are crouching at your door ready to pounce on you. However, even if you get attacked, you could tame the fleshly beast of desire so that you could conquer it! But in order to master something, you need to TRAIN. Self control isn't a natural instinct. It's something you need to learn and master.
Doing what you feel like doing isn't practicing self control. Doing what you don't feel like doing is practicing self control. In the same way, practicing self control is...
- Learning when to keep your mouth shut.
- Learning not to lash out at anybody.
- Learning to control your thoughts.
- Learning to divert your eyes from certain things.
- Learning to not sleep in.
- Learning when you do need to sleep.
- Learning to keep your hands to yourself.
- Learning to finish whatever you've started.
- Learning to start whatever that's on your mind.
There is freedom and opportunities when you have control over your actions. Self control could prevent you from making a mistake. Self control could allow you to experience certain things in life that lacking self control wouldn't allow. You could feel better about yourself when you know how to take control of your life.
There is no joy when you lose control. When life seems to be getting out of control, just remember that it all stems from your ability to control yourself. If you can't control yourself, then life will get out of control. When life get's crazy, focus on sharpening your will power.
- Don't say the first thing that comes to mind.
- Don't harbor on ill feelings.
- Don't compare yourself to others.
- Don't get jealous.
- Don't desire everything your friends have.
- Don't lose your temper.
Want a more joyful life? Then work on yourself, and the first thing you could work on is self control.