Comedian Jim Carrey has a line I love. He’s about to go crazy, and then he hollers out with a smirk, “Sssomebody ssstop me!” Isn’t it fun to assume that it’s someone else’s job to restrain our bad behaviors? Like the lost boys in Peter Pan, we don’t really want to grow up. We’d like to stay children forever. Somebody else has to do the hard work of acting like a grown-up.
Do you expect God to take responsibility for your life? I know some people who actually believe that God controls their every move—it’s a weird form of piety. Perhaps they think that they are giving God honor. In fact, they are not listening closely enough to his Word. God created us to be junior versions of himself, with his value system, his attitudes, and his agenda. He did not make us to be his marionettes, helplessly hanging limp until he twitches our strings.
We aren’t helpless. Our Father and our Redeemer, Jesus, have given us their Word and Spirit, all with the goal of leading us to grow in discernment and making good choices. The power of personal restraint is one of them: “The fruit of the Spirit is . . . self-control” (Galatians 5:22,23). You can learn not to blurt out whatever flies through your mind. You can say no to sexual temptation. You can take charge of your food and alcohol consumption.
You can focus on important goals, complete your tasks, and value your relationships.