HAND AND GLOVE.
A glove is a wonderful thing. You've probably never thought much about it, but a glove can perform all kinds of tasks. It can turn a doorknob or roll down a car window. It can wave good-bye to a friend or applaud a dazzling football play. It can pat someone on the back or smack someone in the face. It can point. It can give a "thumbs up" sign.
"Wait a minute," you say. "Time out! A glove can't do all that; it's the hand inside the glove that does all those things."
Well, yes. And that's the point. A glove can only perform a task if there's a hand inside it. Otherwise, all it can do is lie there motionless. That's because the ability the glove possesses comes from whatever fills the glove.
It is exactly the same with you.
You may really, really want to be more self-controlled. You may want to control your anger, your appetite, your desires, or your fears. But no matter how badly you want self-control, you can't make it happen. Oh, you may improve a little bit, for a while. But no matter how hard you try, you won't develop true self-control by yourself. Because self-control, like all virtues, comes from God.
In other words, your ability to exercise self-control depends on whatever or whoever-fills you. "That's why," the Bible says, "those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you" (Romans 8:8-9).
So if you are a Christian, the power to be self-controlled is already living in you-the Holy Spirit. The key, then, is not to grunt and groan and grit your teeth but to surrender to the Spirit's control day by day and moment by moment-just like a glove "surrenders" to the hand that wears it and controls it.
REFLECT: You already have God's Spirit living in you if you've received forgiveness of your sins and trusted Jesus for salvation. Have you done that? If not, you can do it now by praying this simple prayer: "Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life and make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen."
PRAY: One way to surrender to the Spirit's control is to sincerely pray a simple prayer every morning, like the following: "God, I want to do right today, but I know I'll need your help. I give up control of the things I do to your Holy Spirit right now, and I ask him to control me all day long. Please help me not to forget or to 'take back' control."