25 July 2011

Self-control Is Not for the Timid

Ed Welch:
There is a mean streak to authentic self-control. Underneath what seems to be the placid demeanor of those who are not ruled by their desires is the heart of a warrior. Self-control is not for the timid. When we want to grow in it, not only do we nurture an exuberance for Jesus Christ, we also demand of ourselves a hatred for sin. . . .

When was the last time you said 'No' to something, out of obedience to Christ, when it actually was hard to say 'No'? Maybe you can say 'No' quite easily to cocaine, but you linger over salacious advertising. Maybe you can say 'No' to the second or third drink, but you will never miss a dessert (though you vow weekly to change your eating habits). Whatever earthly desire doesn’t take 'No' for an answer is a lust that surpasses your desire for Jesus Himself. With this in mind, we quickly realize that self-control is not simply an exercise in self-improvement. It is an essential discipline in a high-stakes spiritual battle. The only possible attitude toward out-of-control desires is a declaration of all-out war.

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