Similarly, encourage the young men to be self‑controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:6-8
The Second Mile Retreat this weekend was life changing for many including myself. The teaching from all the Pastors was top notch and straight from the Holy Spirit. I wish I could but down all that I learned in this blog, but I don’t have the time or your patience to write all that was talked about. I am as always, going to write about a side topic that Pastor John mentioned during his awesome message about having emotional security. One thing he was taking about that reminded me of a conversation I had with him once on my weight loss was just saying thank you when someone gives you praise. He had asked me how much weight I lost and I told him my loss was 242 pounds, and he said wow, that’s awesome. I was trying to be spiritual because after all this is my pastor, and said it wasn’t me, it was God. Which he gave me this deep truth that I will never forget, he said, “Well, you need to take a lot of the credit because you made the choices to get to this point.” I’m not sure if that is exactly what he said, but it’s the essence of what he said.
Up to this point I have given God all the credit, but in reality God put some people in my life to help me make correct choices that ended up in self-control. Self-control is just that, controlling yourself, your actions, your choices YOU make. You ultimately can make or break your life. When you are angry, you had a choice either to get angry or to not get angry. One of the greatest gifts God has given us is our own free will. We have a choice, should we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, or reject Him. Life is full of choices, both good and bad. It’s no wonder God chooses to reward us when we choose to do something good. Making a godly choice brings us closer to Him and makes us more Christ-like. The above verses illustrate this. I think for me to give God all the credit cheapens what He truly did for me and that was make me the way I am. Individual identity goes a long way toward loving ourselves the way God loves us. The enemy makes us think that if we give ourselves too much credit for our own choices that we are bragging on ourselves. The truth is, there is a fine line. You can be humble and accept the credit for your own godly choices. If you want strong Holy Spirit direction in your life, self-control is the starting point. It is after all a fruit of the Spirit.
A couple of dangers that go along with this thought. You can get a big head and start really bragging on yourself. You can avoid this by remembering what you once were, and where you came from. Had grace and favor from God not been in your life you would never have achieved what you achieved. That’s where we give credit to God, in His grace and favor. The other danger is going too far with the self-control and becoming controlling. You put yourself in complete control of your life. This means you have taken God off the thrown of your life. Really these two dangers go hand in hand and can be thwarted by knowing your place in Christ. It comes down to another choice for you to make. Should you have an attitude of pride or of praise? Pride puts you on the thrown of your life and makes you arrogant. Praise is knowing who you are in this great big universe and knowing who God is and compared to Him, you are not big enough to be microscopic. Pride will eventually lead your life to ruin. Praise will make your life flourish and grow. So, don’t let pride or false humility keep you from accepting praise from people. Take credit, but also know where you are from, and know that God had a hand in getting you to the place you are today. Don’t forget God gave us a free will and is not the almighty puppet master. He allows us to make our own choices and rewards us with fruit when we make the godly ones.