Some people attempt to come into the Christian life at the level of self-control rather than at the level of love, and quickly discover that it does not work. I tried to come into Christianity this way. There was a time in my teens when I was greatly attracted to Christianity, but not willing to make the full surrender which it so clearly demands. Every day I would start out with the thought and purpose that I would do everything in my power to keep myself from sin -- and every night I fell into bed feeling a failure. How could a diseased will heal a diseased soul?Then I surrendered my life to Christ and something wonderful happened -- His love flowed into my heart and as I began to love Him, all lesser loves soon dropped away.
A university professor, writing on the subject of loyalty, says an interesting thing: "There is only one way to be an ethical individual and that is to choose your cause and then to serve it. This central loyalty to a cause puts other loyalties in their place as subordinate. Then life as a whole is coordinated because all lesser loyalties are subordinated."Translate his thinking into New Testament language and you find an interesting similarity. The "cause" we choose is Christ and His Kingdom, and when we seek them first, then all other things, including self-control, are added to us. This does not mean, of course, that once we become Christians we automatically become people of supreme self-control. We have the potential for that, but it becomes a reality only as we continually surrender and submit to Christ's control.
O Father, I am so thankful that when I threw my will on Your side, You threw Your will on my side. I am controlled because I am under control. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What did Paul bring into subjection?
2. What was the danger if he failed to do so?