Self-Control as a Virtue

Self-control is pretty obvious.  It means subordinating one’s instincts to a greater goal.  The “Message” bible says its being “able to marshall and direct our energies wisely.”  We only have so much energy in a day and so much time.  How will we spend these?  Will we waste them on trivia, or self-indulgence, or work on worthy goals we’re pursuing.  Will we live life intentionally, or just sort of muddle through, doing whatever pleases us at the moment?  To learn the virtue of self-control, I need to pray about God’s priorities and then make those my own priority.  I need to quit squandering my energies and hours on trying to please myself or please people or even in trying to pile up a lot of religious points that aren’t what God has called me to do.  It seems what Jesus found so frustrating in the Pharisees was their tendency to invent new check off lists for God instead of listening to what God in their midst was actually saying to them.  Self-control is ultimately about idolatry.  Who is God?  Me?  People?  Things?  or the God who will tell us what He wants when we are listening with a wholehearted desire to please Him.

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