Our Spiritual Muscles
Exercising Self-Control Muscles – Part I
Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-10
Key Verse: 2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
A spiritual muscle that may not get much exercise these days is the self-control muscle. We may not think of self-control as a muscle, but it has the characteristics of a muscle.
Our self-control can grow strong when we exercise it. Our self-control grows soft and weak when we do not practice. Think of the many bad habits that we could develop when we are weak in our self-control. These bad habits can lead to addictions and even death, all because we do not exercise our self-control.
Today’s Key Verse reminds us that God has given us a spirit of self-discipline or self-control. Unfortunately, having the spirit of self-control is different from actually practicing self-control. The spirit of self-control that God gives us is an inner motivation to control ourselves, but we must listen to that spirit and put it into practice. The Bible puts it this way:
Keep in step with the spirit. (Galatians 5:25)
This Spirit of God is the motivator and reminder for us when we face a situation where we ought to practice self-control. Once the Spirit reminds us, we must then put self-control into practice. The Apostle Paul describes this idea well:
I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I might be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27 NLT).
Like physical exercise, our spiritual exercise in self-control is hardest when we first begin to practice it.
Have you ever met someone that does not like to hear “no” as an answer? Such a person is probably so used to getting everything they want that they seldom if ever use self-control.
If we are going to enjoy victory over sin in our walk with God, we must be willing to deny ourselves the sinful cravings of our flesh. As we start saying “no” to ourselves, we start to realize that we can live a good life without certain things the world around us craves. We start to understand how good it feels to have victory over things that have caused guilt and shame in our past.
Sometimes we convince ourselves that it is okay to indulge in some “little” things. However, if we start controlling the little things, it makes us stronger to control the bigger things in our lives.
Learn to listen to the nudges of the Holy Spirit in your life, and quickly say “no” to the things the Spirit points out.
Father, I want to live a self-controlled life that honors You. Please keep reminding me of the things You know are wrong for me. In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.