If you have ever had to diet, you know that one of the big motivators to exercise self control was knowing that you will eventually weigh less and fit into a smaller size of clothing. Perhaps that motivation not only caused you to pay attention to how many calories you put into your body, but as you began to feel better through the weight loss eating healthier became important. You knew that if you made better choices with what you ate, your overall health would probably improve. After a while of feeling even better and having more energy, maybe you found yourself wanting to take it a step further and begin finding ways to fit regular exercise into your diet. The hope of being healthier and feeling better in the end was what helped motivate you to have the self control and perseverance to continue on with the diet until you reached your goal. Likewise, we have a spiritual hope that helps us have the self control it takes to live godly lives. Please look up Titus 2:11-14.
These verses were written by Paul; however, they compliment the verses we looked at yesterday written by Peter. I love when there are two different authors that say the same thing in the Bible! When I see that, it also stresses to me that God had a reason to put the same thought in the Bible by different authors more than once; He wants to make sure we understand its importance. The parallel idea that I see with these two scriptures is the fact that the hope of our salvation powers our self control. Yesterday, I wrote how self control starts in the mind and then our actions will follow; today we see where the empowerment comes from to show the fruit of self control. Please look back at 1 Peter 1:13. “…set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” That instruction is given right after being told to demonstrate self control. Now look back at our verses in Titus 2:11-14. We see a few points that show us that: 1. the grace of God that brings salvation teaches us to say, “No,” to ungodliness; 2. we live self controlled lives while we wait for the hope of the return of Christ. Just like the person who is dieting because of the hope to feel better and fit in smaller clothes; we have a hope that is given to us through our beautiful Savior. We know that there is so much more to live for than success.
Yesterday I wrote how Paul gave us a prescription for the battlefield of the mind in Philippians 4:8 when he told us to think on the good things of God. What could possibly be a better thought than the hope of our salvation? When we remember the sacrifice that Christ made for us, we can be motivated to make wise choices rather than give into desires that are really no longer a part of who we are. Those desires are a lingering memory of who we were before Christ, kind of like a victim who still lives like a victim many years later. God tells us that we are no longer victims to our sinful selves and that we are His children with an inheritance that is far better than anything this world could ever offer us. That hope gives us the ability to live like His children. We are children of the King of Kings! Do you believe that enough to live the lives God says we can and should live?
Are you letting the hope you have in Christ to empower you with the self control it takes to live a godly life?