For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-8)
In my last post, I talked a bit about self-control. For me, that becomes a challenge. Be it food, sex, spending money, Facebook….. Suffice it to say it can be difficult some times to practice self-control. Much like Veruca Salt in the old Willy Wonka movie, I want it NOW!!!!
So while it can be a struggle, it can also be very rewarding. Denying self immediate pleasures more often than not can be rewarded immensely. Consider saving for something you really want, vs charging it. Often if we charge something, we are paying for long after its no longer useful or exciting to us. Yet if we save for it, we first avoid the impulse buy (which is most often followed by buyer’s remorse…) and second are rewarded by not owing someone for it. I would have done well to have practiced this type of self control earlier in my life….
But let’s say we practice self-control, and see the results or rewards of practicing. Why then is it so difficult to PERSEVERE?
and to self-control, perseverance
Why, when we are rewarded for being wise, or thinking eternal, do we so often turn back to the temporal, instant gratification? It’s a hard thing to break, when everything in our lives is instant these days. We are almost trained to think that instant gratification is good, when my waistline tells me otherwise….
So here is another question – what happens when you practice self-control, and you AREN’T rewarded? Or worse, you feel as if you were punished for it? Consider Jesus, and what he endured. Consider Paul, and what he endured. Considered David and what he endured when Saul was seeking to take his life. Why???? I mean, maybe I can understand Jesus, because he’s God and he knows what is going on – and really he sees the sin of the world, and the urgency, I get all that. But why the other men I mentioned and so many more????
Thinking eternal always helps. I personally don’t think eternal enough. I don’t think eternal when I get mad at the person who cuts me off. I don’t think eternal when I buy a Caribou because “I deserve a treat today”. I don’t think eternal when I would rather win an argument than share love. I don’t think eternal when I don’t trust God to bring me through even the hardest times, as he has SO MANY times before. Or when I give in to temptation, because “self-control doesn’t seem to be paying off”……
God never promised us comfort or convenience in this world. If anyone tells you that is what he wants for us, don’t believe them. God doesn’t want us to SUFFER – but we are living in a fallen world, and it’s bound to happen. To all of us, at one time or another. But there IS comfort, eternal comfort, and JOY in him. I love this verse from John 16:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The Lord gave me this promise when I found out my dad had cancer….. While it didn’t take the hurt or loss away, I knew God was with me, and with him. I knew he was going to take care of him. I knew I had responsibility, but that it wasn’t UP TO ME to save him. And I watched while God did amazing things all through my dad’s illness. I must confess, I don’t praise him enough for that…….
Jesus – I do find my comfort in you. The only real comfort I’ve ever known. Yet so often I forget, and look to things of this world to provide what only you can. Forgive me for that. And thank you that you love me so, and desire my heart. I pray you use me for your glory, and for others’ lives to be touched by you. Cut out those things in me that are all about me – let my life be all about you. I pray this in your mighty, wonderful, beautiful, awesome name.