“Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” Proverbs 25:28 NIV
“…that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,” 1 Thessalonians 4:4
This is a follow up on the last article about creating a plan. I wanted to follow up today with putting that plan into place with intentionality. It’s been a few weeks since I wrote and while I do have a plan in place, there have been many nights where I felt weary and overtired. Even though I could feel temptation lurking in the recesses of my mind, I chose to neglect my plan and attempt sleep in my own strength. Sadly those nights were utter failures. My mind had a field day as it entertained sinful thoughts and even though in the midst of my struggle I thought about my plan, I never once turned the light back on and journaled or read my bible. Even though I had a perfect way to avoid the sinful thoughts, I chose to ignore my plan and in all reality, I chose to ignore the Holy Spirit.
In my life, I have to live with intentionality. When I have a day with no set agenda, plan, or goal that is when I stumble. When I have too much free time or choose to ignore my time with God for the day then that is when I’m apt to follow sinful desires. Even when I have a plan in place, I have to choose to follow that plan ON PURPOSE, or else I will fall flat down on my face.
There are some words in scripture that I think of when I think of living with intentionality: discipline and self-control. If you are like me, my life has been the opposite of these words for way to long. I looked up the word discipline and it means: “training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character”. The key word is training. We are not going to beat an addiction or bad habit overnight. We may have an extreme case where we no longer desire our habit of choice, but we still have to learn how to replace that habit with healthy things or we will find another habit that is often worse than the last.
I also looked up the word self-control. One definition said: “restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.” That means we don’t act on what we want to act on. We have to teach ourselves, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to refrain from giving in to our hurtful and sinful habits. The world tells us to act on our impulses, that we have a right to the feelings and desires we harbor inside; but God’s Word teaches that we must choose to honor Him in our choices and desires. We will never be able to honor our selfish desires and honor God at the same time.
God, this is some hard stuff. I just can’t seem to get a handle on ___________________. Please give me the spiritual willpower to overcome. I made a plan. I know the good I need to be doing. I know my habits are sinful. I know my desires, thoughts, and actions don’t always honor you. Knowing isn’t enough, God. Teach me how to live with intentionality. Teach me to be an overcomer. Training has to be intentional. Help me not to grow weary. Help me not to believe the lies that I am identified by this sin. I am your child. You have set me free, and through your grace, I am saved. Replace my defeated mindset with victory.