I heard a story once about a TV preacher (I can’t remember which one) who would not allow himself to be alone in a room with a woman who was not related to him. The teller gave me the story to make fun of the preacher, and by extension all TV preachers: what kind of man must he really be, they said, that he can’t trust his own self-control? Doesn’t sound like God’s doing much to help him out, does it?
But that preacher was on to something. Because self-control only works as long as we want it to–and when temptation is in front of us, it’s easy to convince ourselves that it’ll be okay just this once. That’s true of all temptation: sex, alcohol, food, rage, even laziness. It’s why people who succeed at getting healthy don’t have pantries full of potato chips and cookies. It’s why diligent workers keep their distractions in a separate space from where they work. It’s why good schools make it as difficult as possible for students to cheat.
We are weak, you and I everyone we know. Some of us are less weak than others. But we can all learn something from a preacher who took extreme measures to keep himself out of trouble.
Get rid of your temptations, as much as you can. You might find it easier to grow when you don’t have to rely on your iron self-discipline any more.