Read Titus 2:11-12
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age...
What areas in your life do you struggle to exercise self-control?
Can you control yourself? Well, if you are like me, some areas are easier for me to control myself in than others. Nothing is more frustrating than to slip up in an area of my life when I know I should do better. It's easy to feel defeated.
But the truth is that sin can no longer defeat us. In Titus 2, Paul said that God's grace appeared and offered salvation to everyone. If you have accepted God's grace, His Holy Spirit is at work in your life. You are a new creation. This new creation is dead to sin and alive in Christ. You are no longer a slave to sin! It is finished.
So why do we still struggle with sin sometimes? Why can't we overcome our struggles by force of will? Why is self-control so hard sometimes? Because sanctification is a process. Sanctification means growing in the likeness of Christ or becoming more like Him.
Paul used language that implies that sanctification is not instantaneous. He said that God's grace is "training us." Think about athletes. They have to work hard, keep trying, and push past failures. They have to succeed a little bit at a time. Each success builds on another. They have God-given athletic ability, but they still need to tone the muscle. And no matter how good they get, there is always room for improvement.
Learning to control yourself is a process. But if you are a believer, you have the power you need to grow in this area! The Holy Spirit is at work in you, teaching you how to say "NO!" to ungodliness and worldly passions and "YES!" to godly living. Just like athletes have to put in the work to improve, believers have to cooperate with the Holy Spirit.
Friends, it's not always easy, but in Christ, we are capable of controlling ourselves. We have the best coach in the business!
Father, I want to live an "upright, godly life." I want to be able to exercise self-control in every area of my life. Help me to continue to grow to be more like You. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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