So, I have lived most of my teen and adult life believing that I have very little to no self-control. I am very impulsive especially when it comes to gratification. I can go back and forth and be stingy about buying something I need like clothes and household stuff and in the next breath pack a bag and go on a holiday and spend upwards of $1000… why? Because it makes me feel good, it excites me.
2 years ago, I woke up on the very first day of the year, having slept no more than 3 hours and with the biggest hangover. As I was making my way to get some friend chicken, as you do. I felt the Holy Spirit say to me you need to dedicate the first 21 days of the year to God and go on a Daniel Fast.
Now this could not have come at the worst moment. I was hungry and with no clue what kind of fast this is I just needed food.
This was the first time in my life I felt God’s convictions so strongly that I couldn’t ignore it. And so fast I did, I gave it my best even though, to my disappointment I think I broke it on the night of the very last day. I was hungry.
After doing the fast I couldn’t help but notice how I had a little more self control that previously. I didn’t just say yes to everything. I could plan ahead and I recognised many times where I should be saying no.
To actually say no was a whole other story.
We live in a fast world, everything is needed at a snap of the finger and perhaps more than any other time in history this generation subscribed to the thinking that “if you want it you should have it and you should have it now”
Nobody wants to wait for anything and the distinction between want and need has never been blurrier.
I see it with my kids everyday, they have no concept of any other time outside of the “now”. No comprehension of what they could want or need 2 hours later let alone tomorrow. Trying to get my oldest daughter to plan ahead to make her day tomorrow easier has often felt like we talking two different languages.
Now what I’ve realised is this is not just defiance it’s engraved in our thoughts. I struggle with it myself, we would rather plan to endure and suffer consequences tomorrow for the sake of gratification today.
The messages from the world is that everything comes and goes so fast that it you don’t grab it now you miss out. Your life can end tomorrow so you might as well have the most fun today and let tomorrow worry about tomorrow.
But guys, life is long. Yes you could die tomorrow, but you could also live 100 years . Mental health issues are on the rise in the world because we live in a cycle of starting out fires and trying to put them off tomorrow.
I’m half way through my fast for this year and God has really been speaking to me about choices. Understanding and realising that every minute of our day is determined by the choices we make. Yes God is in control, yes God is with us and guides us…but we have a choice, our daily life is governed by what we choose.
I have the right to do anything, you say – but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” – but not everything is constructive.
1 Cor 10:23
Yes everyone, believers and nonbelievers alike have freedom, freedom to be whoever we want to be and do what ever we want to do. Are you gaining anything beneficial and long lasting from it.
Part of what has been the biggest driver in regaining my self control and in this journey altogether has been a need to grow. I got to a point of just finding myself in the same issues and my life just not changing, like it wasn’t even getting worse let alone better it was just the same…different people and players but the same situation.
As I continue in this journey I continue to be challenged. Small seemingly insignificant choices and decision can impact your life in a big way. And can set you apart from other people.
In the New Testament when Jesus was picking his disciples we see in Luke 9 we see a scenario where Jesus called 2 men to follow him and they had a choice to make. These guys all choose they wanted to do something else first, say bye to their family, bury a relative. Basically they had other priorities.
Again in Luke 18 beginning at verse 18, we meet a young man who had to choose too, riches or following God. He choose his worldly riches
And in Matthew 4:18, Peter and Andrew had a choice too. They chose to leave their job, their livelihood all they knew right in the middle of a work day to follow Jesus.
All the people in these scenarios had one thing in common, they believed. They believed in Jesus in God and in his Kingdom. They all made different choices and all ended up in different places.
In 2020 let’s choose to grow, to lean into God and let’s choose to leave behind the mentality of “give it to me and give it to me now. Let’s learn to discern that which is good and that which is not beneficial to us.