Day 19 -God Gave Us a Spirit of Self-Control

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self- discipline. —2 Timothy 1:7

We hear a lot about self-discipline these days. Writers of diet books and fitness plans tout self-discipline as a way to lose weight and attain the perfect body. Parents are encouraged to teach kids self-discipline so they can succeed in school, athletics and other activities. People advise each other to use self-discipline to curb spending habits.

But trying to master self-discipline on our own leads to disaster. Hyper- focusing on self-discipline can cause legalism, or a tendency to exaggerate our own righteous deeds and not show mercy toward those who are struggling. It can also cause an emotional backlash, since constantly denying ourselves the things God approves of makes us miserable, bitter and prone to taking out our feelings on others. We must rely on God to give us true, balanced self- discipline.

Most Christians are familiar with the concept of relying on God but struggle with how to do it. Does relying on God mean sitting back and waiting for Him to fix all our self-control problems? No. Actually, relying on God means being honest. Tell Him where you are struggling and how self-discipline makes you feel. Ask Him for a greater desire for discipline and to see discipline God’s way, not as a punishment but as a way to grow.

Start new disciplines slowly, and give yourself grace if you mess up. God wants you to succeed in building all fruits of the Spirit, including self-discipline. If you rely on Him, success will be yours. Your body and mind may never be perfect, but you’ll be in a better place than you were when you began.

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