SELF-CONTROL? by Travis Evans
November 29, 2006, 8:17 am
Filed under: Leadership

By Walt Alexander

Is self-control merely bodybuilding?
Is it merely about training your body and possessing absolute control of it?
Is it merely about who has the biggest bench press and who can do the most push-ups?

Before it can begin anywhere else or before it can have significant impact on any other area of your life, self-control must take root in your relationship with God. Really, our relationship with God is often one of the most neglected areas of our lives. We can succeed in going to church, going to bible study, and going to various other events, but our lives alone can be totally different. We often have little or no self-control with the spiritual disciplines. We are often wallowing in laziness and apathy.

Here’s my brief history in this area:

A couple of years ago, about a year after I had gotten saved, I seriously lacked self-control. I loved the Lord and I loved to read. But I could not get up in the morning to meet with him. In those days, I had one of ascending alarms that gets louder and louder with every beep. Because I was either deaf or lazy or both, it would take me forever to get out of bed to turn it off. Many days my Asian roommate (won’t be my last either!), Andy Young, would end of screaming at me or beating on the wall in sync with the alarm. Sometimes, someone would come from another room in the house to turn the alarm off. My entire, daily life was formed around my laziness.

Also, I remember, soon thereafter, I was talking with Kevin Shipp about how I could not possibly take 8am summer school classes because it would be way too early but commenting on how I really needed these classes in order to graduate. He, being the friend that he is, remarked something like, “That’s ridiculous. You need to get up and get to work.” Looking back, this was a pivotal moment of my life. I had to choose whether to serve my lazy lifestyle or to be productive, work hard, and get things done. This moment immensely served my relationship with God, because I began to consistently seek Him in the morning. I only pray I may grow to be more and more disciplined and self-controlled. The point is: there is much hope.

So, how can we cultivate self-control in meeting with God?

Here are a few thoughts (in no particular order):

Remind yourself that reading the Bible is the primary way to know God. Romans 10:17 reads, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.” We must read, read, read to know Him. Think about this. We have a source of true knowledge of the holy, all-knowing, all-powerful God. 

Go to bed early. As Howard Varnedoe has said, “The battle for the morning is won the night before.” Obnoxiously simple, but definitely true.

Set a reasonable but earlier time to get up to read. Though the Bible never says “you must read me in the morning,” in my experience and the experiencing of many, many others, the morning is the best time to read. It is when all is silent and the cries of the coming day cannot be heard (or at least can still be silenced).

Have a reading plan. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but know where you are turning each morning. The Bible roulette is no incentive to get up.

Have a place. If you don’t identify a place beforehand, it is extremely easy to place it on the backburner. Also, go to the same place consistently is very helpful, but hard for college vagabonds to do.


    1 Comment so far
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    Great post bro, thanks for the encouragement toward being self controlled.


    Comment by Jonathan Oldacre

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