ODJ: controlled or controlling?

November 14, 2014 

READ: Proverbs 1:1-7 

Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just and fair (v.3).

At the start of this year, a friend of mine made a statement that set the tone for the rest of my year. Nicola remains convinced that ‘control’ is at the root of many of our internal struggles—with self-control being the most challenging to master. We get angry or lose heart when we can’t control people or circumstances. We lack discipline and lose control over our own thoughts, words or actions, and spiral into a self-destructive cycle—hurting ourselves and others.

King Solomon, one exceptionally wise man (1 Kings 4:30), wrote the book of Proverbs as a practical guide for attaining wisdom and discipline (Proverbs 1:2). Although he probably faced many a battlefield, he also waged a vicious war in his mind and suffered the crushing consequence of a lack of self-control. His 700 wives and 300 concubines were instrumental in turning “his heart away from the LORD” (1 Kings 11:3), and he went on to lose control of much of his kingdom.

Solomon understood that people who lack self-control are like a city with broken-down walls (Proverbs 25:28). They’re lost and will ultimately die in their own foolishness (5:23).

Scripture teaches, however, that those who are not impressed with their own wisdom fear the Lord and turn away from evil (3:7-8). The writer of Hebrews understood that discipline isn’t enjoyable while it’s happening—it’s painful. But afterwards there’s a peaceful harvest of right living for those who learn from it (Hebrews 12:11).

As we approach the end of this year, may we continue to grow by looking to the Word of God and to the Holy Spirit for help in choosing a disciplined, self-controlled life (Proverbs 1:3). —Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day plan› Acts 25:1-27

Read Titus 2:11-14 to see how the revelation of God’s grace can teach us to live self-controlled lives. 
Don’t wait till the New Year to set a new goal for controlling others less and controlling yourself more. What’s preventing you from starting now and keeping it going throughout next year?