ANONYMOUS WRITES: I’m an obsessive person, and self-control is a regular struggle for me. Whether it’s a particular artist or movie or food, it’s so easy to be self-indulgent and get addicted. How can I actively practice self-control? What Scripture or advice can you share with me?
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Most of these things you mentioned are good things that God has created for us to enjoy. We see that God is an artist just by looking at His creative work in nature, God also created music and food is also part of how God created us- to need nourishment!
It becomes not so good anymore when it competes with God. Competes for the place God deserves in your life, competes for the worship that God deserves, competes for the love God sent His son to this Earth to die for!
If it does, it becomes idolatry. Some ways you can tell if you’ve been idolizing something that isn’t God would be to keep an account of what you’re doing throughout your day and how much time you send on it.
Idolatry is a heart issue, you see what is truly is your heart by the fruit that you produce (which is your works, your actions and your speech). If you see that your actions are not glorifying God, you know that there is something in your heart which needs to be changed!
I would advice you to not look at yourself and all the things YOU can change but look to God. If he has saved you, he will complete the good work he has already begun in your life! So pray that God would change your heart and grow your affections for HIM rather than the things of this world, to worship the creator and not the creation (Romans 1:25). Remember it’s less about your works than it is about your heart, your works are just a reflection of what is in your heart. So look God to change your heart and your works will follow. Try spending more time in the word to increase your love for God by knowing more about his characteristics and how he gave up his life so that sinners like us could be free from loving the things of this world. Lastly, always remember there is grace in Jesus, we cannot be perfect until the day He makes us perfect in heaven, but until then, we might give in many times to the desires of our flesh but there is forgiveness because of the death Jesus died for US!
Praying for the teens of The Rebelution, that God would be changing all our hearts daily so that we would grow in His likeness!
I loved your advice on accountability! It honestly is so important because God created us to need our families and church members to grow, He has put us in communities. We’re not made to fight this battle on our own, we need help from everyone around us! And from experience I can also say it is sooo beneficial!
Yes. I agree. God did not create us to be lone rangers (Gen. 2.18). He is the one who created family, society, friends, church etc… and He knew what he was doing!
Amen to that, bro!
I really struggle with self control too, particularly in the area of food. @disqus_okATz2kQ2R:disqus had really good advice “I would advise you to not look at yourself and all the things YOU can change but look to God” I constantly forget to rely on God for my every need. I try to fix things myself but without God I am nothing.
Yeah it is something I am learning to do as well! And through your fight against this just remember-Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
He knows what you are going through. He was tempted by the devil just like all the temptations around us.
First, pray! God cares, and he equips us to do the things He calls us to do, including self control.
Then, set some goals. Your goals shouldn’t be too strict right away. They should also be positive, not negative.
For example, say that you eat dessert after lunch and dinner and have sweets in the afternoon too. Your ultimate goal is to eat sugary things only a few times a week. Here’s an example of a bad goal to get to this result: “Eat sugar only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and only right after dinner.” You’ll probably fail and then get discouraged and go right back to your old habits. Here’s a better goal. “Every day this week, I want to eat sweets only as dessert for dinner. In place of my other sweets, I will eat fruit.” This is a less strict goal to start out with, and it also replaces the negative (sweets) with something positive (fruit). Set specific, positive goals that get you to your ultimate goal in gradual steps.
My final piece of advice is to consider Lamentations 3:22-23. God’s mercies are new every morning. It’s common when setting goals to think in terms of a time frame – a week, a month, a year, whatever- and expect perfection within that time frame. One day of falling short brings discouragement and quitting. But don’t be harder on yourself than God is. Consider every day, even every moment, to be a fresh start.
And the advice below is good too. 🙂
I want to add that I’m not writing these things from the top of the mountain of success. I need to work on these things and remind myself of them as well. We’re all in this together! 🙂
Did you, by any chance, read the book “The Purity Principle”?
No, I haven’t. Does my advice sound similar to that book?
Yes, especially the setting of positive goals instead of do’s and don’ts.
I recommend that book.
Thanks, I will check it out!
First, pray! Remember that you will never be able to get out of those habits on your own. Only God can free you from sin. Read the Bible daily. Look up verses on the areas you’re struggling in. The Bible is God’s word. He created you, and he knows you much better than you could know yourself. Remember that he is never surprised, and that he is always ready to forgive you and help you out of your sin. He paid the ultimate price, his own blood. He wants to have the first place in your life. Open the door to him, become obsessed with Him! With him, the victory is yours. It is up to you to accept that free gift. Also remember that nothing is too hard for him.
I’d say that the next step is to share your struggles with a trusted friend or mentor, preferably a Christian who has fought the same sins in his childhood. Parents are great for that. Chances are, they’ve faced the same problem. Have them as accountability partners and have Christians pray for you.
Next, set some goals. Dana has some great advice.
Remember that whatever you do, do it as if for the Lord and not for men. (Col. 3.23). Notice the word “everything”? “Everything” includes, well, everything. God is the one who gave you these desires. He gave them to you so that you’d not forget to feed your body, reproduce, rest etc… Praise him for giving you these desires, and let Him show you how to use these desires in the way he intended them to be used.
I’ll be praying for you.
Soli Deo Gloria!
I find it helps when you prioritize your activities, and find what is really important to you. Although this doesn’t fix your problem instantly, it can help you see what can change in your life and what is taking up most of your day. You can also do other activities that are better for you than what your trying to control, like: read your Bible, doing activities outside, getting involved in a project, or even working hard in school.