Goal and objective are worthy of pursuit. I personally know many who wanted to spend more time reading or studying God’s Word and others who want to spend more time in prayer. Some want to shed ten pounds. Others want to get serious about an exercise program. And some even express using the downtime of the economy to further their education. No matter what the goal and objective is, it’s great to re-kick it with a fresh start and it’s great if you can to do it with others for some level of accountability and support.
When you set new goals and objectives, you will have a head-on collision with something that is supposed to be in ample supply within us, but often feels more like the empty cookie jar that someone has raided—that something is “restraint.” We will never experience real change at anything without restraint. What is restraint? It’s the ability “to hold back or to keep in check; to keep under control: to limit or restrict whenever necessary.” Restraint is something we were to have developed along our path of life. When we were children, our parents were supposed to have restrained us. Proverbs 23:13 says, “Don’t fail to discipline your children. They won’t die if you spank them.” This verse is talking about restraining children when they are young. Methods are altered to that age of the child as they grow older but restraint in some form is to be taught and administered to them so that they have learned what it is and learn the discipline of it as they age and mature. Then when they get to be adults, they will have the discipline to restrain themselves.
Prov 25:28 says, “He whose spirit is without restraint is like a city broken down, without walls.” At the time when this was written, a city with broken down walls or without walls represented a city that could easily attacked by the enemy. The enemy could come in and raid the city and then destroy everyone in that city. This verse is teaching us that when we don’t have restraint, we become undisciplined and lethargic and eventually broken down in many areas of our life – spiritually, mentally, and physically. Restraint is critical to our lives.
As soon as we set goals such as, “Today I am going to limit my calorie intake, eat only certain healthy foods and no sweets,” our old thoughts, desires, and eating patterns arrive on the scene. Restraint is needed to overcome those thoughts and desires, and to reestablish healthy, new patterns. Do not be deceived. Restraint is not something you put on like armor. It’s something that is built within like muscle. It’s built over time by settling in your heart and drawing strength from the truth of what God says about you such as in 1 John 4:4. “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them (every voice and temptation): because greater is He (Jesus) that is in you, than he (Satan and every demonic voice, spirit, and source of temptation) that is in the world.”
God promises of the giving of His strength. It starts with you believing in faith that it exists within you and then letting it be a spiritual resource you tap into to resist temptation. Colossians 1:10-11 says, “That you might walk worthy of the Lord…increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power…”
Exercising restraint is how that strength from God grows and progress toward goals is made. It takes work. It’s not a magic wand. Don’t let the devil tell you your walls are torn down. Tell him you are a child of God, you have His strength, and restrain the temptations that would knock you off your goals.
Parents are to restrain children. We are children of God and through prayer—with the help of His Holy Spirit, we are the ones who restrain ourselves as adults. So, pursue your goals and objectives but understand that the exercise of restraint is and always will be critical to the success of your pursuits.
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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