Monday, November 21, 2011

Self control

I can be brilliant, but without self-control I can be broke, lonely, and in trouble.  Both children and adults need to learn how to control themselves in order to be successful.  Even in reading the Bible it takes some discipline to get to it each day.  When I was working 13 hour days, I had very little time to myself.  So, I'd pop open my Bible and read a verse and pray.  If I had more than 5 minutes, I'd read a paragraph.  Somehow it was always good.

Proverbs 19

2 Desire without knowledge is not good—
how much more will hasty feet miss the way!
Ok, how many times have you dashed out the door, realizing you forgot your car keys?  That's how I see this verse.   I have the desire to drive the car but not the keys.  Learning is like that,  it's important to take time to learn.  Even if I have great talent but don't take the time to learn to use it, it's not good.

3 A person’s own folly leads to their ruin,
yet their heart rages against the Lord.
This sounds so familiar.  When I was a new Christian, if something went wrong I'd ask God why He did that?  I'd become angry.  But years of walking with the Lord have taught me to stop and really consider- is this from God?  or did I get myself into this mess?  I realize now, sometimes trials come to bless us with faith and compassion.  We can always trust this verse:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
It's the first verse I memorized.  But if someone is brokenhearted by tragedy, this is hard to grasp.  Sometimes we just need to cry, to let out our pain.

8 The one who gets wisdom loves life;
the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper.
Wisdom makes life much easier because you understand how to enjoy it.  Understanding is so important.  In my work, I draw pictures of my ideas and verify with clients if this is what they really want.  One client told me, "You do what I like!"  It's good to understand what people need.

11 A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
Patience and overlooking offenses is key in any relationship, especially marriage or friendships.  Of course there's a point I need to talk about it too.

13 A foolish child is a father’s ruin,
and a quarrelsome wife is like
the constant dripping of a leaky roof.
This is another proverb that always makes me laugh.  Maybe I'm a bit weird but this description always jumps out at me.  A quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof!  So true.  I can hear the drip drip drip drip...  It applies to men too.  My husband and I have had times where we just get annoyed with each other.  A good pillow fight helps clear the air.

18 Discipline your children, for in that there is hope;
do not be a willing party to their death.
I think verse 13 and 18 go together.  A child who has no self-control reflects poorly on their parents.  A temper tantrum brings everyone's eyes to poor Mom.  Most of us understand 2-3 year olds are really hard to raise.  And don't look down on the Mom. I try and smile to reassure her I understand.  Verse 18 warns that unless children learn discipline and are trained to behave properly, the parent is setting them up for troubles in the future.  I remember back in the 70's when teachers were forbidden from disciplining children in school.  When I worked with young people who were home schooled, they worked very hard, had such peace and focus.  The only thing that was hard for them was confidence.

14 Houses and wealth are inherited from parents,
but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
A prudent wife is from the Lord, how cool is that?  Had to look up that word, we don't use it much (prudent- shrewd in the management of practical affairs).  This would be a person who watches the finances and uses up the leftovers.  I think of it as also putting some away for the future.  Our future is a little unknown right now with the economy  problems.

17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will reward them for what they have done.
When we give to the poor, we are lending to the Lord.  We will be rewarded.

19 A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty;
rescue them, and you will have to do it again.
Self-control again.  If someone has no self-control, they'll constantly be in trouble.  It's so important to learn this.  Yet sometimes so hard to maintain.

21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
I have lots of plans.  But truly I want the Lord's purpose to be done.  His purposes reach the world.

22 What a person desires is unfailing love;
better to be poor than a liar.
I think we all desire unfailing love.  It describes Jesus.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8

23 The fear of the Lord leads to life;
then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
It's so good to be content knowing we've done all we could, and that the Lord is watching over us.

I don't know about you, but I always find self-control to be challenging in one way or another.  So glad God forgives, and helps us yet another day.


  1. Yup sometimes it's true that self-control is hard to maintain. But this is because, many of times, we are always focusing on ourselves: I want to be more disciplined. But when we realise that it's all about Jesus, and we fall back onto His grace, we'll be able to do all things! :D

  2. It was nice starting my day by reading this! Self control is something the Lord is working on me on in a few areas of my life. Being a fruit of the Spirit I know He is ready and able to empower me when I humble myself before Him. Yep, good way to start my day. :)

  3. Thanks LeAnn and Joy! Amen to both of you. My Thanksgiving post is on its way : ) May God bless us all with self control. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! Err it really wasn't my idea to post on this subject the week of Thanksgiving feasts- it was where the Lord led me!