I remember watching both my children as they were learning to walk. My daughter was adventurous in her footsteps moving away from furniture until she would realized there was nothing to hold on to and would fall. On the other hand, my son was more cautious and often tried to plan out how he was going to move. Inevitably he still fell. Now that they know how to walk, and run, there are times when they still fall down. I imagine the possibility of falling will always be there because even when we have control of our bodies, there are times we still do not. Even as adults we still fall down, although we fall less than when we were learning to walk.
Self-Control is like learning to walk. There are times when we think we are safe so we step out, unaware that temptations are still strong and we find ourselves faced to make a decision. We either give in to the temptation or we stand firm. Then there are times when we know there is a temptation, we think we are strong enough to face in on our own, but when face to face with our temptation we fall down. Just like children learning to walk, no one is immune from falling, both literally and figuratively. As this characteristic of the Spirit grows in our lives, and we are empowered by the spirit, we may fall less, but the temptation will always try to pull us down.
The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.” When we become more aware of our temptations, and the ways we exercise self-control in those temptations, we become stronger, standing firm, and holding onto what we know is right. We may find that something that was tempting us in the past is no longer a temptation at the moment, but it does not mean it might be be tempting in the future. So we have to be on alert recognizing that temptations are around us, and are fighting for our attention.
Have you experienced a time in your life where you thought you were standing firm, and then found temptation got the better of you? I know I have. It’s okay, we are not perfect. We will fall short, we will fall down, and the Holy Spirit will be there to help us get back up. The Spirit will help us exercise self-control so that we will find ourselves falling less.
What helps you to stand firm? What helps you to control your temper, your words, your appetite, your envy, or your time?