The secret to building self-control is to yield our lives to God and let His Holy Spirit guide our thoughts, our actions and our life. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,” Paul advises, “but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”1
That doesn’t mean we won’t face temptation or continue to work to overcome bad habits and weak areas in our lives. We need to do our part, of course. We need to put up some resistance when temptation comes knocking, and we need to work on strengthening our weak areas. But the fact of the matter is, we all sometimes fall prey to temptation, give in to our personal weaknesses, and overindulge in some things that would be fine in moderation. The apostle Paul could have been speaking for us all when he wrote:
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?2
But then Paul hit upon the answer:
Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.3