‘…make every effort to add to your faith … self-control’ 2 Peter 1.5-6
Self-control applies to so many things - such as breaking the control bad habits have upon us or checking our words before we say something harsh – and just as New Year Resolutions seldom last for more than a couple of days, all too often we fail in our attempts at self-control.
Interestingly, the message of the Bible is that laws, whether applied by others or by ourselves, have little power to bring change to what goes on within us. So why does Peter encourage us to add self-control to our faith if it doesn’t work? The way this passage is laid out is rather like making a lasagne – it is about adding to what is already there! None of these qualities - goodness, knowledge, self-control – is enough in itself, but they are to be seen in relation to each other. We have already noted that self-control has a tendency to fail, but it takes on a new meaning when it is added to our belief that we bear the very presence of God. Rather than us being able to control what is within, we realise that we have another power within us bringing change – the power of Christ.
Take a few minutes to enjoy the presence of Jesus within you, perhaps by gently speaking his name, sensing his breath within you as you breathe, or simply by letting the truth of the words, ‘You are here’, sink in deeper. When you are next conscious of the need for self-control, remember to come back to one of these and draw upon the power of Jesus within you.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission