Tim Keller | April 15, 1990
Being a Christian helps shape our behavior, especially when it comes to self-control. Not being able to control our habits, words, thoughts, time, or feelings can lead to big problems in life. The Bible, particularly 1 Corinthians 9 and 10, teaches us about the importance of the heart, the life-changing power of Jesus’s teachings, and Jesus’s own perseverance. These lessons help us learn self-control.
1. The importance of the heart
Self-control doesn’t mean you should ignore your feelings or desires. Instead, it’s about focusing your heart on things that are more important than what you want right now. It’s important to remember that our thoughts, wishes, and feelings can be influenced by sin, so we shouldn’t always trust them. For example, the Bible tells us about Jacob, who worked for seven years to marry Rachel because he loved her. This is a good example of self-control. On the other hand, people who only care about their careers can end up having problems in other parts of their life. This is a warning to us.
2. The power of Jesus’s teachings
Focusing on the blessings that come from following Jesus can help us with self-control. Paul’s own life shows this, as he stayed strong even when he was suffering. When we put God’s endless and unconditional love above our own wants, we learn self-control and become passionate about sharing Jesus’s love with others. Studying the Bible, worshiping God, and being accountable to others can help us focus on others, just like Jesus did when he died on the cross for us.
3. Jesus’s perseverance
Jesus showed self-control when he died on the cross. His strength came not just from his will, but also from his joy. The secret to self-control is finding something good to focus on and finding joy in it, just like Jesus found joy in us. Self-control isn’t just about willpower or following a set of rules. It’s about focusing on Jesus, practicing spiritual habits, and rejoicing in what he did for us.
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