There’s one character flaw that I constantly beat myself up over, and it’s my lack of self-control. I have other flaws I struggle with, of course, but I feel self-control is especially an issue in my life. I lose to sin all too often when I can’t control my desires. I soak in internet entertainment after work and on the weekend, emerging only when I’m thoroughly tired or there’s a meal to cook or eat. I procrastinate on a lot of obligations I have until it either becomes urgent or someone hounds me enough about it.
Now it’s not as if I’m always a slacker and can’t manage showing up at my work, or do house-work or even tax. I work five days a week as a painter under a boss I’ve known for nearly 7 years now, and have not missed a day to laziness (although I do often turn up a few minutes late). I try to keep the kitchen clean and mow the lawn, among other things. The issue is when there are no constraints, and my behaviour doesn’t seem to affect others or I’m quickly forgiven for it anyway. These are even things I enjoy doing, like writing this post, that I rarely/never get around to partly due not controlling myself.
I’ll be quick to add there are other factors to why I’m a slacker sometimes. My work is very physical and I tire from that. I also have early starts at 7am and sometimes travel for a while to get to work. These things play a factor in my behaviour, but don’t excuse it either.
What are the dangers about a lack of self-control, though? Surely we can survive a few weekends where we slack off and tune out the world? Or consume one too many snacks at a party? Well, I guess the parameters of where not having good self-control can be dangerous are complicated and apply to each person differently. What might be okay for someone to over do might become an all controlling addiction for others.
“A man without self-control
is like a city broken into and left without walls.” – Proverbs 25:28
One thing to also think about is whether something is sinful, regardless of the frequency of the behaviour. We aren’t called as Christians to easy living but rather to make “the best use of time”¹. If we are behaving badly because we lack self-control, we are disobeying God’s Word. Paul, in the letter of Titus, encourages a church leader to have the older, wiser woman teach the younger woman a whole list of things including “to be self-controlled”. The young men are just to be urged to have self-control². I can take a message like that. Focus on self-control. Fight for it, trusting in God to provide the strength to win. Teach others and show by my behaviour that it’s possible.
And that’s all, folks. As always, thanks for reading. God be with you. Pedrozki (Pete).