The first one I'm thinking of is the area of Self-Control.
I can definitely say that I struggle.
Hmm... let's see where to start?
Oh, I struggle with:
not eating the whole pan of brownies/plate of cookies/stash of Valentine's candy
spending too much wasted time on the internet
putting my "things" aside to complete my homeschool plan for the day
controlling my tongue when I have something I really want to say (good or bad) when it isn't the right timing
Those are the biggies for me...
Self-Control can sometimes seem like a bad word. But truly, it is a gift from God that comes along with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us for those who believe.
Galatians 5:22-26 (ESV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Self-Control one of those "fruits" or results of the Spirit's presence. He gives us everything we need at our disposal to walk in Self-Control. But then why is it so hard to implement?
Carolyn Mahaney writes in her book Feminine Appeal: (A book that I love, and reference back to from time to time.)
"We are in a fierce battle, confronting sin from within and temptations from without. But God provides a means of protection in this war. He wants to encircle us with a wall that can withstand the onslaughts on all three fronts. That wall is self-control."
So how do we begin to fight this fierce battle and call on the help of the Holy Spirit?
"Meeting with God each day is a way of acknowledging that we are totally dependent upon his grace. Psalm 1 eloquently depicts the effect of daily meeting with God: "Blessed is the man... [whose] delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers." When we meet with God, we can find peace in the midst of trying circumstances, an eternal perspective where we have lost sight of the truth, and power to fight our battle against sin. We will resemble that tree in Psalm 1 that is healthy and strong, and fruit-bearing. Therefore we should eagerly and consistently respond to our Saviour's invitation to come and meet with Him." ~ Carolyn Mahaney, Feminine Appeal
Many times, I would begin again and "try harder" to produce Self-Control in my days. But really, what I've needed to do is trust the one who has begun a good work in me (Phil 1:6) and lean on his strength. His infinite strength and grace. Leaning hard on God's promises of help by reading God's Word, soaking up, and acknowledging what he says about me and his ability to provide these things to me.
Want Self-Control? It is there for the asking. But it takes effort too. The apostle Paul experienced toil and struggle just as we do. And even he knew the need to cooperate with the power of the Holy Spirit to sustain us.
"Man may talk of self-control, as if the reins were in his own hands. But he who has been "born of the Spirit" and taught "to know the plague of his own heart," is made to feel that effective self-control is divine grace, not his own native power... Have not repeated defeats taught us the need of calling in better strength than our own?" ~Charles Bridges, book Proverbs