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  • RevDrGeraldWatford

Self-Restraint

Why does it seem like, when we need help the most; when we are desperate for reinforcements to arrive; when we are hoping for answers and crying out for power, we make one of the worst decisions we could ever make? I speak of the decision to limit God. It is true that in one sense God cannot be limited from accomplishing His ultimate purposes. But it is also true that in smaller ways, because God chooses to allow us freedom to make choices, He does limit His involvement in our lives according to those choices. People can choose not to believe in God and He does not force their belief. People can live essentially ignoring God and He does not override that choice. So in very practical ways it is possible to limit God’s involvement in our lives. The worst time to do this, it seems to me, is when we need God most. Yet this is when we are very likely to make the choice to limit God. It has happened many times, even among God’s people. This is what we read in Ps. 78:41,42, “Yes they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember His power -” Why would anyone make such a choice? I don’t think anyone makes the choice intentionally seeking to limit God at a time of utmost need. But this can happen because we do not exercise self-restraint. Yes, self-restraint is probably one of the most important aspects of ensuring that we do not limit God. We are so prone to rushing into what affects us most personally and passionately with unrestrained thoughts, words and behavior. Before we realize it, everything centers on us and what we do. Lost to our awareness is God and what He is doing or would do if we did not limit Him. Self-restraint promotes the discipline of remembering God’s power. This in turn increases our confidence in God’s power and the likelihood that we will truly trust God. “Self-restraint is making room for God to work.” I wrote that line several years ago in my book, Armorbearers, and it continues to be a very valuable and helpful reminder to me each and every day. When we practice self-restraint, we avoid the choice of limiting God and we raise the bar on our discipleship.

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Mt Hebron
United Methodist Church

1-803-794-8273

office@mthebronumc.com

3050 Leaphart Road

West Columbia, SC 29169

PO Box 5737

West Columbia, SC 29171

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