Self Control
Lately, I’ve been having issues with self control. For instance, two days ago, I found an Indonesian chili paste that was given to me about two months ago by a friend of mine inside the food cabinet at my house. I had forgotten about it since I decided that my tummy is no longer capable of eating a real spicy food. When I saw that bottle of chili paste, I was taken back to memory lane of the delish food I used to eat in Indonesia when it’s mixed with that chili sauce. Suddenly there was a spark in my head, “I think I can handle it. How hot could it be?” Soon enough, I opened the bottle, took a spoonful of chili paste, and mixed it with the beef stew I had for dinner. My goodness!!! It was hot! Duuuuh! But it tasted so good that I couldn’t stop eating. I had my second bowl of stew, added another spoonful of chili in it, and ate it. The sweat rolled down from my head, tears came down from my eyes, and I was pretty sure that I could spit fire out of my mouth. And yet, I didn’t stop. I finished my dinner with full satisfaction. Surely I had to pay the price, because in the middle of the night, my stomach was churning so bad; it felt like Mike Tyson was doing boxing practice on my tummy. I spent my night doing bathroom trips until I was completely drained. Guess what? I promised not to eat spicy food anymore (let’s see how long that promise will last…).
Self control. Why is it so hard? The wise in the Bible describe it accurately: “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.”(Proverbs 16:32). In a way the wise is saying: taking over and managing a city is easier than managing your own self. It is evident by looking at how many great men and women in this world who get lost in the effort of controlling themselves over the lure of alcohol, drugs, gambling, prostitution, or any kind of negative behavior. We see great leaders who manage a billion dollar company or rule over a big nation who were dragged down from their honorable place because of the scandals that they were involved in; just because they couldn’t control their speech and their action. I believe every one of us has similar problems. Yes, it comes in different size and intensity, and the kind of luring object that causes us to stumble, but a problem is a problem.
This problem is so serious that even Apostle Paul wondered about this phenomenon. He said: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15). Sounds familiar? It’s like there is a strong force inside us that pulls us out from the godly path and we are incapable to do anything about it. And once we succumb to it, that’s it, we are literally digging our own grave.
So, what does it mean for us? I believe we have no option other than opening our heart and mind to power of the Holy Spirit and asking God to dwell in us and allow Him to control our lives. Jesus warned his disciples: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Keep watch over the things that make us stumble doesn’t always lead us into stricker self control. In my case, the more I keep watch on the things I am easily tempted, the more I am sucked into it. That’s why Jesus added the second step: pray! Keep watch without prayer is like putting ourselves in danger without having a weapon to tackle it. Through prayer, we are filling ourselves with the Divine Spirit that may result ourselves to decrease and God to increase in us. When we have more God in us, of course, our speech and our actions will be a reflection of the Divine alone.
So, today, let’s keep watch and pray with Jesus: Father, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Love and prayers,
Vincent Arishvara 09212017