“…and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness…” 2 Peter 1:6
While we’ve been granted everything that pertains to life and godliness, it’s still hard to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Old habits do die hard, even when there is total commitment to moral excellence. The lusts of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life, will continue to get the best of us at times, but the slips grow infrequent as you allow the Lord more control. Self-control really is “God’s control” when you get right down to it. This is what Satan shunned in the beginning, and we, because of the fall, have been left to grapple with the consequences. When Paul faced Felix (Acts 24:25), it is interesting that his sermon outline had to do with “righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come.” Felix couldn’t handle the truth and he put off Paul, and ultimately, we are led to assume, salvation. The Lord in what is called the Olivet Discourse warned the disciples of the judgment to come in mere years, and that which would come preceding his return. The key then, now and in the end is perseverance. “By your endurance you will gain your lives,” Luke 21:19 Jesus said. This is the gritting of the teeth, the bowing of the neck, and the digging in of Christianity. In every good story line the hero at some turning point resolves not to give in. Someone exercising self-control has dug in, and endures the rain of Satan’s bullets until he retreats, only to return some other day. The result of even little victories is godliness. Over time the scale is tipped, and the victories far outweigh the defeats. We withstand these onslaughts with everything God has given to us pertaining to life and godliness. Jesus used this tool in the wilderness, and it is the word of God.