“I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. 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.”
– Max Lucado
Max Lucado Soaring Spirit Quote Commentary
Self-control? Self-discipline? Obedience? These themes from Max Lucado’s quote above which emphasize key biblical teachings seem, well, out-of-date and irrelevant in our modern world. After all, we live in the world of 1000+ cable and satellite channels, easy credit terms, no down payments, and every ad we see, it seems, asks us to eat our dessert first. We are taught by the world to enjoy the good things in life in the here and now-even before we have paid fully for them. The thinking being: we deserve the ‘very best in life.’
Well, it doesn’t take long to realize, after having lived this way for a short period of time, that the modern world’s attractions and appeals actually lead to-bondage. What other word is there to describe buying stuff you don’t need trying to impress people you don’t really care much for while trying to live a life that isn’t really your own? In this world of instant pleasures, peer pressure, keeping up with the Joneses, and runaway consumerism we are pushed to spend, drink, eat, and enjoy pleasure with abandon-without commitment, without consequences.
Unfortunately, we all know there are consequences. Living only for yourself makes you, at the very least, a slave to your pleasures-a creature of impulse. The crash can be very hard. Crushing, actually. When the good times end and the credit card bills come due, the doctor’s health report comes in, and relationships become frayed or even broken, we realize that life is not all about us, our needs, or our desires. Only when we see the wreckage our self-seeking has caused in our lives and in the lives of those who love us do we realize that what under-girds and powers God’s law is love.
Make no mistake about it-God’s laws exist for a reason. They were given out of love and out of wisdom. God knows our hearts. God knows what a life without limits can lead to. And it isn’t pretty. God’s law is far from a set of rules intended to keep us down and prevent us from ‘living out our full potential.’ Instead, they exist because God wants us to live without regret. By following his command to love Him and love others like ourselves, God’s law gives us freedom from the pain, the destruction, the regret that naturally flows from a life without limits and without regard to others.
When we practice self-control, we open our lives to the full blessings God offers because his law and his commands reflect his love. By practicing self-control, we stay free from debt, disease, discord, and despair. Keep in mind that self-control, real sustainable self-control, is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. We need to claim God’s grace daily to achieve self-control every single day. Otherwise, we’d be leaning on our own strength. We only need to look at our failings to see how far relying on ourselves will take us. Will you give the Holy Spirit permission to give you the power of self-control today?