This dog understands the word, “No!” I am amazed at his self-control sitting there with that piece of meat on his nose. I wonder how long that lasted? With smelling it, seeing it, and imagining that first bite, the dog must be trembling with the effort to refrain from gobbling it up in a moment! I do not think the owner was too far away as the tension mounted.
Today’s verse is surprising. The grace that normally comes to mind is the grace that offers salvation, that amazing unmerited and undeserved favor from God. (verse 11) But this grace is a grace that teaches. This grace allows the believer to live a godly life that pleases the Lord. And like saving grace, it is completely unmerited. We do not earn the ability to live a self-controlled life. It is a gift that is part of the evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Gal. 5:23). We cannot take credit for staying away from sin. We cannot take credit for our obedience to God. It is all grace.
I am so thankful for the gift of self-control without which my life would be a mess. His Spirit enables me to say “No” to temptation. His Spirit gives me the power to turn my back on ungodly desires and choose obedience. And despite the occasional slip, He has changed my heart to want what is right. My highest desire is to honor Him with my choices. And it is with His help that I can achieve that desire even just a little.
Thank you Lord, that Your self-control is another evidence of Your grace!
(Look familiar? This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule)