“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and SELF-CONTROL. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
We make choices daily; whether we realize it or not. Practicing self-control isn’t always easy. In fact, most of the time choosing to do the right thing can be extremely difficult. If self-control was easy, more people would exhibit it. One way we can choose to practice self-control is by making a decision to defy the world and to obey God.
Defy the World
What would you do if you had a boss who told you to fudge some numbers to make your results look better than they actually were? This is one of the dilemmas I faced when I worked in Corporate America. When it comes to things like these, we have to make moral choices. Either we defy the world and do what’s right or we disobey God to satisfy the world and its systems.
I chose to be defiant. I was a bit nervous, but everything in me screamed, “THIS IS WRONG!” I marched into my boss’ office and told him that I would provide him with all the details for him to fill out the report himself but I just could not do something that I knew was wrong. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but there are some things that just don’t agree with my spirit and this was definitely one of them.
Can you guess what he did? Absolutely nothing! He didn’t fill out the report. He didn’t fudge the numbers. He turned in my actual results. And what was even more astounding was that there was absolutely no push back from upper management. I think we both learned something that day. I believe he learned that we don’t have to succumb to the pressures in the workplace. I learned that the Word of God is true: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). I believe I earned His respect and would later be promoted and recognized as one of his highest performing team members.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
By practicing self-control, we make use of our free-will and our ability to choose who we will serve. The Word of God says "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24). You can make decisions based on the fear that doing the right thing will cause you to lose your job or you can trust that if God allows you to lose this one, He’ll give you an even better one. This goes for every challenge we face. We can either trust God, the only One who is able to keep us from falling (Jude 1:24) or we can trust the ways of the world. Whenever we obey anything that goes against God, we are worshiping at the altar of the Anti-Christ. The Word of God tells us that there are blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).
All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God - Deuteronomy 28:2-14:
- Blessed in the city and the country
- Blessings on your seed, fruit, and offspring
- Blessings on your basket and bread bowl
- Blessings on your comings and goings
- Defeat of your enemies
- Blessings on your barn, workplace, and land
- People will hold you in respect and awe
- God will lavish you with good things: children, off spring from your animals, and crops
- Scheduled rain on your land and blessings in the work of your hand
- You will be a lender not a borrower
- You will be the head not the tail
- You will be above not beneath
What do we have to do to claim all these blessings?
It’s simple, we can’t swerve one inch to the right or left when it comes to obeying God’s Word. We have to be diligent when it comes to putting Him first. We have to forsake all else and refuse to worship any other god. That means that no matter how important the job; how intimidating the boss; how terrifying the enemy; how beautiful the home; how prestigious the car; how entertaining the television program; how awesome the friend or family member, we have to choose to put God first and obey Him only. Here’s a word to the wise, be careful, because just as God promises blessings for obedience, there are curses for disobedience. Keep on reading down to verse 15 and you’ll see that the blessings are reversed. If you disobey God these curses will come upon you and overtake you (Deuteronomy 28:15).
Choose this day!
Self-control is a choice, so it’s important that you make this choice for yourself. You can choose to defy the world or you can choose to disobey God. “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living…