Self-Control Week: Say No to Love

“He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich.” (Proverbs 21:17)

If you read this verse sloppy, you could jump to the wrong conclusion. Does it say that God hates pleasure, wine, and oil? Does being self-controlled mean you should plan on never having a good time or enjoying pleasure? Of course not!

clock_350The self-control question here is, “What will you love?” Wisdom tells us that we’re the ones who decide what to do with our affections. If you fall in love with pleasure, wine, and oil – and don’t pry up that love and point it at something more valuable – you’re going to be broke. Living for pleasure – like living for and loving money – always leads to a dead end.

But enjoying pleasure is a gift from God. He wants us to enjoy life, to enjoy the good things in life, as evidence of his generosity. The problem comes when we worship the gift, when we make pleasure the point, when we love God less than what he gives to us.

Think: Do you think of your love for people and experiences as being something that you can control? Why or why not? What can you do to keep your affections from controlling you?

Pray: Ask God to help you to enjoy the pleasures he provides to you without loving them. Ask him to help you to control your affections and to love him with all of your heart and soul and mind and body.

Do: Make a quick list of 3 simple pleasures that God provides for your to enjoy but not to “love.”