People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.
There are two ways to get enough: One is to accumulate more and more, the other is to desire less.
The conclusion is straightforward: self-control requires attention and effort.
Every one of our sinful actions has a suicidal power on the faculties that put that action forth. When you sin with the mind, that sin shrivels the rationality. When you sin with the heart or the emotions, that sin shrivels the emotions. When you sin with the will, that sin destroys and dissolves your willpower and your self-control. Sin is the suicidal action of the self against itself. Sin destroys freedom because sin is an enslaving power.
Freedom in Christ allows you to control the desires that once controlled you.
I Choose Love…
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.
I Choose Joy…
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.
I Choose Peace…
I will live forgiven. I will forgive so I may live.
I Choose Patience…
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so, Rather complain that the wait is to long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clenching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.
I Choose Kindness…
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for that is how God has treated me.
I Choose Goodness…
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I accuse. I choose goodness.
I Choose Faithfulness…
Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My friends will not question my word. And my family will not question my love.
I Choose Gentleness…
Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it only be in praise. If I clench my fist, may it only be in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.
I Choose Self-Control…
I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then when this day is done I will place my head on my pillow and rest.
The is a secret for greater self-control, the science points to one thing: the power of paying attention.
Neuroscientists have discovered that when you ask the brain to meditate, it gets better, not just at meditating, but at a wide range of self-control skills Over time, [meditators’] brains become finely tuned willpower machines.
He who reigns within himself and rules passions, desires, and fears is more than a king.
Michel de Montaigne
Not being able to govern events, I govern myself.
If we know that the aim of the Holy Spirit is to lead man to the place of self-control, we shall not fall into passivity but shall make good progress in spiritual life. “The fruit of the Spirit is self-control”.
We cannot be too careful about the words we use; we start out using them and they end up using us.
I can resist everything except temptation.
Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself.
[I]f to govern realms belong to few,
Yet all who live have passions to subdue.
Self-conquest is the lesson books should preach,
Self-conquest is the theme the stages should teach.
The Complete Works (New York: Derby and Jackson, 1857), 1:355.
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