For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
One of the fruits of a Christian life is self control. When it comes to me and my lack of self control, I think of the too many donuts I chose to eat. Or keeping myself from those expensive new shoes I don’t need.
For many, self control is a much more serious matter. I know of many people, some close friends, whose lack of self control involves self destructive behaviors such as drugs, alcohol or sex. My drug use pretty much was limited to experimentation. Alcohol never held much of a draw for me. I have a beer or two with friends every now and then, but it rarely goes beyond a couple drinks. And, as old fashioned as it sounds, I have always held a romantic view of sex.
I always thought I was genetically fortunate when it came to self control. But lately I attribute my lack of need for self destructive behaviors in my life as a fruit of living a Christian life. It never really occurred to me that instead of being genetically gifted, that my general ability for self control was a gift of the Spirit.
I watch closely people around me whose initial searching for God in drugs, alcohol and sex have led them down the path of addiction. They struggle to find meaning in their lives through their abuse. They become so lost looking for their spiritual selves, and for the love of God, in physical pleasures, that their addicted physical selves hold them hostage and separates them even further from the one thing that they sought out to begin with…God’s love.
It may sound simple, but I do believe this is the root cause of addiction…a feeling of separation from God. And a search for that love. I don’t believe those who do recover from the depths of addiction are suddenly blessed with an ease of self control, but their discovery of God’s love does provide the strength and courage to fight the addiction. Many find that in AA (God is a major part of the 12 step program).
Self control at all levels in life can be attributed to leading a life where God is trusted. Where God is loved. And where we allow ourselves to be loved by God. A place where we experience God’s grace and we grow in spirit. A place where we find the self control to say “no more” to the food, shopping, drugs, alcohol and sex we once tried to fill the hole that only God’s love could fill.