For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14
“I am a spiritual being… After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ.” – Max Lucado
- The most important part of your day is about to start! What does the Lord want to teach you during this time? Pray that your heart begins to open and respond to Him. Go somewhere quiet and bring with you what is needed to get the most out of this time. For me, that is my Bible, my journal, a pen, and a cup of coffee.
- Read Titus 2:11-14 in your Bible. Write verse 12 in your journal or on a piece of paper and commit it to memory throughout your day.
Self-Control with Technology
The Lord calls Christians to stand apart from the world and live differently; not drawing into our modern culture too much and letting it affect how we act. One area, in particular, our contemporary society has become too focused on is technology. Computers, smart phones, and television remain the rulers of the day, and they are dangerous. After all, the Bible challenges us in Romans 12:2, “to not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
As mothers, we are the main influencers in our children’s lives and our behavior speaks louder than words. We have intelligent kids and they often see us struggling with self-control in this area. We monitor their computer and TV time, yet check our smartphones during every free moment. Many of us, including myself, have become hypocrites in this area. As I prepared to write this study, I realized the Lord has something big to teach me and I would like to share that with all of you.
So how much of self-control relies on sheer willpower and what part comes from the Lord? We know we need to lean on the Lord for supernatural power, but how and where do we find it? Scripture affirms in two different places that self-control is a gift, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). And in Galatians 5:22-23 we read, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…gentleness and self-control.” As those verses clearly state, when we have the Holy Spirit we get self-control! We can freely receive it as a gift. However, accepting this gift takes intentionality and realizing we have a problem in this area.
Our self-control grows when we pay attention to: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, and whatever is admirable” (Philippians 4:8). Smartphones and television are not evil, but they are not true and noble either. They lead us to comparisons with others and they simply waste our time! A large part of self-control should be removing our focus on who we are now and refocusing our attention on who God wants us to become. Largely, the kind of mother He wants us to become. However, no matter how hard we try, there will remain times when, like Paul, we lament that, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15).
Remain confident that it is normal to stumble and fall in this area, however focusing on our response matters tremendously. Do not get discouraged and lose yourself on Facebook! Instead, resolve to, “put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12). Then we will pray to the Holy Spirit to renew the gift of self-control within us. And He will.
Question to Ponder
- Is this area of your life a struggle for you? Ask yourself this question and ponder it in your journal. You do not need to share the answer or your thoughts with anyone except the Lord, and He will not judge you.
- Choose one hour per day to turn off your cell phone completely and focus on your husband and kids. Be present and enjoy the company of the people in front of you without any distractions.
- Next time you find yourself reaching for your phone, tablet, or laptop, imagine yourself in your kids’ shoes. What are they seeing? How does it make them feel? Apologize to your children if you feel the need and start over. All our children want are their mamas loving them, reading to them, and playing with them. Choose to parent intentionally today!
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