Are you self-controlled, or controlling? Let’s find out.
Controlling people blame things like the devil, people, or circumstances for their problems and respond by blaming, resenting, or projecting frustration. They manipulate people and circumstances to their advantage. But it doesn’t work—their attempts intensify their pain and turn their relationships into power struggles. The more they try to control, the worse they feel, and the worse they feel, the more they try to control. God doesn’t want you to live that way.
The self-controlled understand that the devil can do nothing to you without your cooperation, and you don’t have to give it (see Luke 10:17). They understand that people and circumstances aren’t the problem either—how we deal with them is. So, they respond by reminding themselves of three things:
(1) The person I need to control is myself.
(2) Sometimes, I must turn people and circumstances over to God and allow Him to deal with them.
(3) I must draw daily on the Holy Spirit’s power in order to control my reactions and follow the sound mind principles of Scripture for staying in charge of my life (see 2 Timothy 1:7).
Self-control helps us avoid blame games, self-inflicted pain, and turning relationships into battle zones. Knowing that the Holy Spirit produces self-control, they understand that the Spirit won’t control them or help them to control others, but He will empower them to control themselves. Spirit-empowered people go from being part of the problem to part of the solution.