Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Self Control::Divine Grace

Self Control has been an area that I have been working on lately, especially when it comes to my speech. This will come as no surprise (especially to those who are closest to me) that I can tend to speak before I think. Well let's just be honest here, I can even struggle with choosing to speak after I have thought about it and know I shouldn't say it. That is where the self-control issue comes in. Dear Lew, who tends to do very well in the area of self-control, has been kindly and patiently helping me to see where I am being impulsive with my words, which has been very helpful. Not only that, but it has been serving our marriage greatly! I have been studying proverbs which has been so convicting and encouraging at the same time. After a few incidents yesterday where I lacked self-control in my speech towards Lew I woke up today discouraged. I felt like there had been little progress in this area, 4 steps forward, 5 steps back. The main problem: I am looking to myself for change. When I think of self-control I tend to think of "self". It makes sense doesn't it? As I was reading in Charles Bridges Commentary on Proverbs this morning I saw self-control in a new light. Though I play a role in practicing self-control, ultimately just like any discipline, it comes down to divine grace. Here is the passage:

Proverbs 25:28 Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.
"...Every sign of irritation, every spark of pride burning in the heart, long before it shows itself in the countenance or on the tongue, must be resisted! A man may talk about self-control as if the reigns are in his own hands, But he who has been born of the Spirit and who has been taught of the plague that is in his own heart knows that effective self-control is a divine grace, and not a natural power. So what should we do? Upon the first assault fortify the walls by prayer. Do not place your trust in the strength of the citadel. have not repeated defeats taught us the need to call on better strength than our own? How could we enter into the conflict, much less win the fight, but for the promise that sin will not rule us (Romans 6:14). Oh, for the simple faith to draw out from this mighty source of energy, perseverance, and triumphant victory!" (Charles Bridges on Proverbs)

What a sweet reminder! Sin will not rule us. Self-control isn't really about self reign is it? It's divine grace which motivates obedience....and in the end triumphant victory is ours because of Calvary~

Romans 6:14
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

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