Archives For Self Control

More from Jerry Bridges:

As I have said, one of the first 5 books I would recommend any believer read is The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness. This book shows how grace and personal effort go hand in hand:

To behold the glory of Christ in the gospel is a discipline. It is a habit we must develop by practice as we learn to preach the gospel to ourselves. As I have repeatedly said, although sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit, it is a work which involves us.

For a longer explanation, See Is Growing as a Christian a Result of Our Effort or God’s Grace

See also Jerry Bridges on Dependent Responsibility

One of the first 5 books I would recommend any believer read is The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness. This book shows how grace and personal effort go hand in hand:

Grace the personal discipline require to pursue holiness, however, are not opposed to one another. In fact, they go hand in hand. An understanding of how grace and personal, vigorous effort work together is essential for a life-long pursuit of holiness.

For a longer explanation, See Is Growing as a Christian a Result of Our Effort or God’s Grace

See also Jerry Bridges on Dependent Responsibility

Dig for Wisdom Like It’s 1849

Chris —  June 17, 2013

While those who rushed to California may not have had the right goal, there is something we can learn from their zeal. Scripture tells us to seek wisdom like we are panning for gold:

If you seek [wisdom] like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures,

then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:4-5.

One of the fascinating events of our country’s history was the California Gold Rush. If you remember your history, you know that a man named Sutter found gold in the late 1840’s which led to a stampede to Northern California.

People ran for California like lemmings. But it was no easy trip to the cliffs. We can get anywhere in the world easier today than people could get to the gold fields.

Those with gold fever had two options for making it to California. They could cross the continent in a covered wagon facing disease, Indians, and the weather. Or, they could sail 13,000 miles  around South America. In the month of February of 1849, over 50 ships left New York for the gold fields.

People were so eager for gold that when they got to San Francisco they didn’t even take time to unload the ships. By the mid 1850’s San Francisco harbor was filled with more than 500 rotting ships still full of cargo that no one had taken time to unload.

California Gold Rush Pictures: Judge Lynch - California Vigilantes, 1848Treasure hunters fought for their claims. After a claim dispute, a group of Frenchmen and Americans agreed to have two of their own slug it out for a claim. The two individuals went at it for 3.5 hours. Finally, the Frenchman could no longer get up and they went somewhere else. The disputed claim turned out to be the richest in the area.

Proverbs tells us that we are to search for wisdom with the tenacity of those panning for gold. How hard are we digging for wisdom?

For those who counter that this sounds like growing through work rather than grace, Proverbs 2:1-6 is yet another area where Dan Phillips’ oft recommended God’s Wisdom in Proverbs is a “gold mine.” He writes:

God works through means. He does not make bread appear in our mouth–and He does not make wisdom appear in our head. In both areas we must pray, and we must work (page 109, emphasis his).

Of course, our “digging” for wisdom must be in the Word of God which makes wise the simple (Psalm 19:7). Regarding the need to dig for wisdom in Scripture, Kitchen adds:

The humanistic notion that all I must do is look within myself is worse than nonsense; it is demonic (James 3:15). This first conditional statement teaches me who I am – – I am a person who needs God’s counsel (Prov 10:8; Prov 13:10), page 57.


On the relationship between our effort in searching for wisdom and God’s grace, see Is Growing in Grace a Result of Our Effort or God’s Grace?


Tempted and Tried

Chris —  April 11, 2011

A fascinating and helpful discussion between pastor/author/seminary dean Russell Moore and Justin Taylor. I have not yet watched the entire video, dinner calls!, but after the first minute I was hooked.

Justin Taylor Interview – Russell Moore, “Tempted and Tried” from Crossway on Vimeo.

Tim Keller:

Years ago, on the advice of an older and wiser Christian, I began trying to pray through the Psalms once every month. Don’t be too impressed—I seldom make it through all 150 of the psalms every 30 days. However, by making that the goal I am able to eventually ponder each one at least several times a year.

One psalm especially has always caught my attention—Psalm 71. It might be entitled a ‘Psalm for Old Age.’ In verse 5 the psalmist says, “For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth,” and in verse 9, “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” This text has been of more interest to me as I have grown older, but I usually think, “no use preaching on this psalm to a young congregation like mine.” And yet, I’ve come to see there is a lesson here for all of us, and especially for the young.

The psalmist says that from his youth he has relentlessly worked at three things. He has “always” taken refuge in God during times of distress (verse 3), “always” praised God as an act personal discipline (verse 7), and “always” put his hope in God for his future. The first practice has to do with how he has processed his suffering and disappointments, and the second practice has to do with daily prayer. He recounts that he has never let anything turn him aside from these disciplines:

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me upC9I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; my lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—I, whom you have redeemed. (Psalm 71:20,22-23)

The third is the most foundational of all. He does rigorous self-examination regarding the fundamental trusts of his heart. He is careful to know what he actually rests in and lives for, and he continually re-focuses his soul’s deepest hopes on God.

Read the whole thing here.


When we eat right, good food tastes better.  There is a spiritual lesson here.  When we cram our hearts and minds with cultural sugar, we have little appetite for a feast of God’s Word

As mentioned previously (see here), one of my sabbatical goals is to be more disciplined in terms of diet and exercise.  To that end, I have made a real effort to remove junk food from my diet (especially carbs/sugar).

While the overall aim is not so much to lose weight as it is to be a better steward of my health, I am, so far a loser.

To this point, I have noticed two benefits:

  • I feel better.  According to what I am reading, this is because I am not giving my sugar levels a roller coaster ride where I suddenly raise my levels, and then because insulin kicks in, plunge it below even a fasting level.
  • Good food tastes better.  I ate an orange today at lunch time; it was delicious. 

Have you noticed the same thing?  When you are eating right, do vegetables and salad taste far better?

Are you disciplining yourself to get the right nutrition for your soul?

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control (Proverbs 25:28).

Self control and eating

Chris —  April 14, 2010

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control (Proverbs 25:28).

Self control is a spiritual issue.  When we lack discipline, we are open to every invader that can come our way, whether it is what we watch or what we eat.  I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I am working on my personal discipline where eating is concerned. 

In my case, another part of the problem is that I need to better educate myself what kinds of foods I should eat.  My friend, Dr. Steve, has been helping me in that regard.  specifically, he has been teaching me about sugar/insulin/carbs etc.  You can click over to his site to read more.

At the same time, an Atlantic Essay considers why America’s obesity is a very complex problem.  It is written by a young man who had bariatric surgery because of his weight problem.

By 2015, four out of 10 Americans may be obese. Until last year, the author was one of them. The way he lost one-third of his weight isn’t for everyone. But unless America stops cheering The Biggest Loser and starts getting serious about preventing obesity, the country risks being overwhelmed by chronic disease and ballooning health costs. Will first lady Michelle Obama’s new plan to fight childhood obesity work, or is it just another false start in the country’s long and so far unsuccessful war against fat?

Here for the whole thing.

HT: Crunchy Con

I lost 7-8 pounds (depending on which way I lean on the scales).  More important, I was more disciplined in my eating; I didn’t allow food to run my life and I was a better steward of my physical health.

Proverbs 25:28 – Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.

Earlier this week, I made myself accountable for sticking to a meal plan with a goal of being more disciplined in how I eat.  The program was recommended by a friend of mine who is a doctor (read more here).

It was a challenge, but I followed the letter of the law which meant that I subsisted on special shakes, provided snack bars, and one serving of fruit or vegetables per day.  Literally, the only exception I made to the program was communion on Thursday night.

Of course, 5 days is easy.  The goal is to be disciplined over a significant period of time.

Accountability with USANA Reset

Chris —  March 31, 2010

Proverbs 25:28 says that a man without self-control is like a city whose walls are broken down.  In recent months, my self-control has not been strong where sugar is concerned.  In the words of the late John Candy, “I’ve swallowed a lot of aggression along with a lot of pizza.”  I realize this is a spiritual issue, so I taking steps to be more disciplined in my eating.

At a doctor friend’s advice, I am doing the USANA Reset program.  (You can learn more at my expert consultant’s web site here.  Watch the reset video).  The goal of this isn’t so much weight loss, as it is to get my sugar intake etc back in line.  This is my second day – – so, far, I’ve adhered strictly to the program.  I have had coffee without cream or sugar.  (I didn’t look to see if that was allowed because I planned to do it either way.  As a pastor, I am allowed to break the rules in this way, but if you are not a pastor then you may need to go without coffee).

Briefly, the program means surviving on provided shakes, some fruit, and a radish here and there.

So, here’s the deal.  On Saturday, you can ask me how I did.  If I confess that I snarfed down some milk duds, then you are empowered to admonish me.