Yesterday I shared about my quirky resolution, refusing to dye my hair for a year. Today, I thought I would share my "serious" resolution. It shouldn't really be called a resolution though; it's more of a goal/how I would like to grow over the next year.
There's this trendy thing now when it comes to resolutions. Instead of deciding on resolutions, a lot of bloggers that I follow pick a word. Some bloggers pick words like "slow" or "rest" or "gratitude." For some reason, the idea of focusing on a word seems interesting, so I started praying to the Lord for a word, or specifically what area(s) He would like me to grow in over the next year.
I've prayed about this for the past few weeks while going through the small but meaty book of Titus with women from my Christian fellowship at college. As I prepped with my friend for this Bible study one day, it surprised me how often the word "self-control" is mentioned. Paul urges Titus to teach the people under his care to exhibit self-control. As I prepped with my friend I couldn't help but wonder why Paul is so insistent about the early believers exhibiting self-control.
I continued to ponder on this as I started reading through 2 Timothy in my quiet time with the Lord. And then I read 2 Timothy 1:7...
For God gave us a Spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
The word "self-control" kept popping up during my time in Scripture. For some reason I even looked up the fruit of the Spirit one day, and do you know what is mentioned as a fruit of the Spirit is? You got it:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control: against such things there is no law.
Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, and God gives believers a Spirit that exhibits self-control. Self-control is huge! Yet, it is a discipline and virtue that is so often overlooked and undervalued. Who generally puts self-control as a strength on a resume? Self-control isn't something that's usually talked about, but it's important.
Even though I was given a spirit of self-control when I became a Christian, self-control is something that I should practice and pray to grow in, which makes it a contender for my "word" of 2015.
I'm still praying and thinking about what it will look like to grow in self-control over the next year, which I hope will become a habit for the rest of my life, but I've thought of some areas to implement growing in self-control.
Taking Care of My Body
The Lord has given me this body to care for and steward. Over the next year, I want to grow in self-control through eating modestly and exercising regularly. This is something that the Lord has been growing me in over the past two years, but I'm interested to see how being more intentional with self-control in this area will affect how I care for my body.
Watching My Words
I want to grow in being self-controlled with my words.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing
Spending Time in Scripture
When life is busy, it's hard for me to be diligent in spending time with God and reading His Word everyday, but I desire to grow in diligently exhibiting self-control by setting aside time each day to read from Scripture. Creating a Bible reading plan would help with self-control in this area.
Working Hard For the Lord
The area that I struggle in the most when it comes to exhibiting self-control is sitting down to diligently work on my school work or other projects that might come my way. I generally enjoy the work that I do, but it takes me a while to sit down and do it. This usually leads to procrastination and stress. I could blame it on "senioritis," but it's actually just me being lazy and not being self-controlled and disciplined in getting my work done.
So there you have it. Self-control. That's the main thing I would like to grow in over the next year, and there are four main areas I would like to see it affect. However, I don't just want a surface behavior change. I want a real heart change when it comes to self-control, and a heart change leads to lasting change.
I'm still praying about what this will look like, but I hope you join me on the journey of growing in self-control. In the future, I plan on looking more at how the gospel encourages me to grow in self-control.
Here's another translation of the 2 Timothy 1:7 verse. It will probably be a verse I repeat throughout 2015. 2 Timothy is a great epistle! Check it out.
Hey There! I'm Madi,
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