Self Control


Reading: Proverbs 25:28, Galatians 5:22-23

Halloween: Dangerous, Scary, or Both?

Halloween is a time for scaring people.  It’s a typically harmless holiday and quite funny for those not being scared.  I can’t tell you how many videos I’ve watched on YouTube that have shown people getting completely terrified because of some prank.  Now, granted, all of these didn’t happen on Halloween.  Unfortunately, Halloween can also be a dangerous holiday.  If you think about it, it’s when we take extra time to think about witches, and demonic forces, and black cats, and cauldrons.  With that in mind, we should really focus on using self-control to limit the amount of “Dangerous Halloween” we participate in.  We should also exercise self-control in how much we are attempting to scare one another.

The Problem

Self-control is one of the most difficult Fruits of the Spirit to master, at least for me.  I seem to always be finding that one thing that can derail me or distract me from my end goal.  I seem to always be focusing on something and I decide to get on Facebook or Twitter or check something on the internet and I end up getting sidetracked by this new article that pops up and then I follow the link to another article and pretty soon, I’ve wasted a couple of hours.  Or at my work study job, my boss has a candy bowl on the work study desk.  If you have ever met me, you know that I have quite the sweet tooth.  I love candy, and I will eat over and beyond any small easily manageable amount.  So, when I break for the first time and eat a piece of chocolate or a Laffy-Taffy, I end up eating close to 20 pieces by the time I end work for the day.  I have an extremely hard time with self-control.

Solomon Answers

In Proverbs 25:28 it says, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”  Apparently, self-control was a problem back in the day too.  Solomon was (and probably will be) the wisest man to ever walk the Earth, and he had a problem with self-control.  The Bible tells us in 1 Kings 11 that he had over 700 wives and 300 concubines and towards the end of his reign, they turned his heart away from God.  This confuses me slightly as he had already basically said that a man without self-control had no defenses in place to stay vigilant.  On one hand, this makes me feel completely horrible, because I have no self-control and it’s my fault.  But on the other hand, it doesn’t.  If the smartest man in the world had problems with self-control, it lets me know that I am not alone and have never been alone in struggling with self-control.

Jesus: the Ultimate Example

If we want become more diligent in dealing with self-control issues, we need to look at Jesus.  Both, when He was tempted in the desert during his forty day fast, and when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed and quoted scripture to remain diligent.  A verse I would start with is the verse of the devotional: Proverbs 25:28.  Don’t just memorize it.  Meditate on it, and love it.  Do something each day that will increase your vigilance, and as Jesus did pray and quote scripture whenever you feel tempted to over-indulge in something.   Even though Jesus prayed to his Father, he still relied on the Holy Spirit to keep Him accountable in doing God’s will.  We also have the same helper in our own lives.  As a Christian, I am extremely happy when I can call on the Holy Spirit to help keep me accountable.  Whether that’s in the form of talking to friends who have been in a similar situation or have dealt with a similar problem, it’s always nice to be able to call on this rarely talked about member of the trinity.  As we start to have other people hold us accountable, it seems that we tend to be able to resist more and more temptation.  When thinking back to the times when it has become easier for me to exercise self-control, it becomes immediately apparent to me that while I have had other people hold me accountable, I have also been relying on the Holy Spirit to keep me accountable for those times when people will fail me.

Final Thoughts

Self-control is such an interesting thing to try to get a grasp on – especially around Halloween.  I quite easily go over the top.  As I’m thinking about pranks to do to people, it becomes easier for me to become a little bit more susceptible to demonic influences.  My roommate has a clown mask that I have fun with.  I enjoy trying to impersonate the Joker, from The Dark Night.  In my impersonation of the Joker, I can’t do it justice until I have been completely nasty to someone.  I am not using self-control at all.  It’s almost as if I am inviting something to come in and attack me, so to speak.   It’s kind of scary when you think about it.  While self-control seems to leave me sometimes, I can always take a peace of mind in the thought that Jesus doesn’t care when or how I mess up.  And that’s a big relief.

Prayer:  Pray that your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling with this will be able to follow Jesus’s example.  Pray for constant vigilance in defending yourself against the Devil.  Pray that you can hold one another accountable, and actually do it!

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