A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls. – Proverbs 25:28
This scripture is not only applicable to life in general, but to all the various elements that make up our life. School. Relationships. Nutrition. Athletics. Finances. A person who isn’t able to restrain from poor decisions or sinful behavior allows openings in his armor for those very things to creep in and overtake their life. What helps a person gain and keep self-control? You rid your life of poor and sinful behavior by filling it with something sustaining and good. In the spiritual sense, that void left by ridding your body of sinful behavior is filled by the Holy Spirit. Building a relationship with Jesus fills and will continue to fill your body with the spiritual strength and self-control brought forth by the Holy Spirit. Where do you start building a relationship with Jesus? First, you accept and admit that behaviors need to change. God’s grace and forgiveness has always been there because of what Jesus did on the cross. All you have to do is accept it. Second, you establish a relationship with Jesus by spending time each day communing with the Father and learning His Good Word. Learning about how Jesus lived a life filled with love allows you to grow closer to Him and help keep poor decisions and sinful behavior at bay. Next, you build upon your relationship by attending a church that speaks to you. Surrounding yourself with others who are or have been broken and digging deeper into Scripture together helps strengthen your relationship with God. Finally, you find ways to use the talents God gave you to glorify Him. Step out of your comfort zone and help those less fortunate with your talent, time, or money.
I also think a good step to gaining self-control in your life and rebuilding your broken-down walls is figuring out who or what your enemies are that you need self-control over. I know I have many…
Greed – I allow myself to think that “if I just had more money I would be happier”. I start wishing I had fast money. Thinking of this takes my concentration off what will really bless me… God.
Debt – I opened the door to this enemy back in college and gave him a spare key ever since. Debt can be so stressful it changes your heart from a giving one to a taking one.
Selfishness – I can get caught up focusing on my own wants, needs, reputation more than those around me. I need to put my loved ones’ needs before my own.
Pride – The competitor in me brings out prideful behavior. I often look at my own accomplishments or think I am a better coach/person than somebody else. It is okay to be competitive, but in a humble manner.
Judgment – I often catch myself passing judgment on people based on what I see on the outside or stereotypes I have learned through society/culture. I must remember to not judge a book by its cover, but learn who a person is on the inside. We are all children of God capable of great love and service to each other.
Laziness – I want results now. I want results without putting in the work. I have fallen victim to this enemy many times. This often leads to me expecting I deserve something rather than earning it. Hard work, due diligence, process, and patience are the ways to results.
Anger – In rare situations I can get extremely short-tempered. Particularly when I am challenged or when I am confronted with somebody giving me advice/help with something I (think) already know.
What do you need self-control over? What or who are your enemies controlling your life? As a coach, I cannot help but apply this to athletics. What areas of your life do you need self-control over in order to reach your athletic potential? Not having self-control with your daily decisions is making your body defenseless against illness, injury, fatigue, stale performances, and athletic progress. Do you want it bad enough to have self-control with your sleep habits? Do you want to reach your potential bad enough to put the right food and drink in your body time and time again? Is the desire to reach the top enough to have the self-control to surround yourself with family and friends who will help lift you to your goals? Having self-control allows you to leave your athletic career never asking “what if?”.