Not a Wreak
Seek self-control—proof that you are overcoming lust.
Without self-control you have no choice but to be a “slave to sin”—doing what you do not want to do.
Self-control is the fourth step in Peter’s eight-step program (2 Peter 1:5-8) for the successful Christian (see prior post). If you get stuck at this point, failing to gain self-control, Peter explains that your failure will make you “useless and unproductive”—a wreak. This may be a common outcome but it is nevertheless tragic and unnecessary.
Saving faith, a desire to do good and gaining knowledge (steps 1-3) come first. The stage is set. Don’t stop short.
Self-control is not willpower.
A common reason for failure is confusing self-control with willpower. We imagine that by applying enough willpower, things will fall in place. However, those who continue in sin know that their willpower is no match for the battle.
This being the New Year, resolutions abound. Though our intentions may be sincere our ability to follow through is pitifully weak. We find that we are unable to drive sin from our lives. Our weakness reveals itself ceaselessly. Willpower is not the source of self-control.
Self-control comes when we submit.
Instead of calling upon our own willpower, we need to submit to God and do things His way. As we follow His instruction and submit to His will, sin loses its power over us. Being freed from sin—no longer controlled by it—we gain control. We experience self-control.
Self-control comes from the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It results from walking in the Spirit. God is not a control freak. If He wanted robots, He would have built robots. He grants us control over our lives. The great human tragedy is that we have gone astray-we have lost control. Sin controls us.
However, Jesus came to set us free. Until we are freed we remain useless, immature and unfruitful for His Kingdom. On the other hand, being freed from sin, we willingly and joyfully do His will.
No Longer a Wreak
My own struggle with lust and the things I have learned as a result of gaining victory are what cause me to write about this subject. I spent most of my life as a rusty wreak—a useless, unproductive and immature Christian. However, by God’s grace, I am no longer a wreak.
God’s Word clearly reveals what must be done. Read here if you don’t know where to start.
As you gain self-control and are no longer slipping automatically into lust, you will taste the sweetness of freedom from sin. The next four steps that Peter lays out—perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love—will follow. In fact, once you get on track you will see all eight qualities increasingly and continuously active in your life. This is a sure promise from God Himself.