I am often struck by the lack of self-control that I see among Christian women today. Whether it be lack of control of the mouth or of what goes in the mouth, or lack of control over anger or desires for worldly pleasures, Christian women today are in danger of slipping into the pit of worldliness. There are times when it is difficult to tell Christian women from their unsaved counterparts.
Proverbs 25:28 says, “A man (or woman) without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” The idea behind this verse is that self-control is a protective measure for us. It is to keep us from various harmful influences and vices as well as to keep us from plowing headlong into sin.
We dare not think that we are too wise to be seduced by the things of this sinful age. King Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, and even with all his wisdom, he still fell deeply into sin due to a lack of self-control. Anything that Solomon wanted he took – women being the greatest of his desires. He had over 700 wives from all different tribes including many from outside of the nation of Israel. Solomon did not govern his emotions and desires.
We women struggle with different things compared to our male counterparts. The things we wrestle with regarding a lack of self-control are in the areas of the tongue, food, spending, use of time, and the like. Women can spend too much time seeking entertainment that caters towards our desires and emotions, and unfortunately, much of the entertainment we indulge in is not godly.
We are to be self-controlled in all our dealings. This means we must have control over our desires, passions, wants, cravings, and our emotions. Everything in moderation is the key. Paul said “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). This requires self-control.
To be successful in the area of self-control, every aspect of our lives is to be governed by the Holy Spirit because being self-controlled is not a part of out normal make-up. We love ourselves so much that we are willing to sin to get what we want, to go to any lengths to make it happen.
We must remove ourselves from places that tempt us to indulge our desires. If you tend to indulge your desire for “things,” then a shopping mall may not be the place for you. If you indulge your desire for food, then you must be very wise with where you eat. Perhaps a buffet is not the best place for you to have a meal! It is not that shopping or buffet meals are bad or evil; they are inanimate objects. No, what is evil is the heart, and the heart wants to be indulged. What I have found is that what I start out seeking to control usually winds up controlling me! Sin always takes me further than I ever wanted to go…
Our hearts are naturally self-centered and self-indulgent, and we do not want to be denied anything our flesh craves. This battle is ongoing and will be with us until we leave this earth! Galatians 5 says that the Spirit is at war with our flesh, and our flesh is at war with the Spirit.
To be on the winning side of this battle, we must daily expose our minds to the Word of God. We need daily reminding of what God says about who and what is to be controlling us and the dangers of journeying too far into the world.
The heart needs to be reoriented from one that loves and serves self to one that desires to glorify God more than anything else! As we pour God’s Word into our hearts and minds, changes will begin to take place within us. Protective walls will begin to be built around our hearts, walls of self-control. We will find that due to the power of the presence of the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God, we have the ability to say “no” to our passions and desires. What once seemed so important will no longer pull so hard at our hearts, and we will find new strength in Jesus Christ.
We will realize the victory that we have in Christ and that we are no longer captive to the desires of the flesh unless we want to be captives. We have been set free by Jesus’ death and resurrection and the chains that once bound us to sin have been broken. You and I have the freedom to say “no thanks” when the sin of self-indulgence comes knocking on our door. We have the ability to be self-controlled.
Let’s begin today by renewing our minds in this area, and then let’s begin to apply what the Word of God says and build self-control into our lives.