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Christmas Character Identification: Self Control
By Zelda Dominguez
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control.”
– 1 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)
By Zelda Dominguez
When I was very young, I used to pretend in my backyard that my life was a scene in a movie. I would daydream that different situations would be another part of the story of my life. Quite often, there’s a connection between life and movies. Have you ever thought your life could possibly resemble a character in a movie?
I‘d like to share with you something we all can use around this time of the year; everyday really. It’s called self-control. Merriam-Webster’s definition is to have control over your feelings or actions; restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.
It sounds like a misnomer because of the word “self.” But in reality, although we can’t do it on our own, it requires us to choose to rely on the One who can. Romans 7:18 says, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” When we put our faith in Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him, we receive His Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. Also, as the key verse states, we have access to being Spirit- controlled and have the power to resist our desires, if we choose to yield to the Holy Spirit.
So, let’s take a look at some Christmas movie characters and 5 areas we can use self-control.
This year I saw Christmas decorations out for sale in October. Let’s face it, commercialism is out there and being pushed in full force. Don’t get caught up in that. Meaningful traditions don’t have to put you into debt. For instance, in the movie “Christmas with the Kranks,” they spent thousands on combined expenses, then with the neighborhood pressure to traditionally decorate their houses, it caused them to want to skip the holiday altogether. Is that you? Or how about Martha May from the movie, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” Martha’s competitive spirit possessed her to outdo everyone and win the prize for best decorated home in Whoville. Instead, why not remember to make yourself a reasonable budget, pray, and keep your focus on the real meaning of the season?
With the holidays, comes traditional foods and baking. Multiple functions all having one thing in common, food. It’s as if overeating during the holidays has become a tradition. We turn into Kevin from the film series “Home Alone.” When no one is looking, we over indulge. Unconsciously you may associate this period with eating sweets, bakery delights, and other fattening foods in vast amounts. Sometimes stress or other emotions trigger food binging. Just admitting we have a struggle shows we have somewhat of a desire to want to do better, but sometimes the temptation or problem is so deeply rooted in our flesh that we have a real struggle with wanting to admit it, much less wanting to get rid of it. Be honest with God, and trust Him to resist and give you the discipline you lack.
The holidays bring a barrage of events. And it seems we have to attend them all (not to mention the ones we may be hosting). From tree lighting ceremonies to New Year’s Eve get-togethers, it can get busy, expensive, and also add pressure. I’m the first to admit I love all the festivities of Christmas, but we definitely can go overboard and burn out before Christmas even gets here! And along with parties may come drinking. The Bible says all things are permissible but not all things are beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23). I’m not saying be the Grinch but be Spirit lead as what to say yes and no to.
4. Gift Giving:
Don’t get into the trap of giving for the wrong reason. There can be many reasons why you give. It may be to show gratitude, love, or appreciation. But it also can be out of guilt, to impress, or to self-serve. Have you ever received a gift and felt obligated to give back? We all need self-control in the area of spending. To give sacrificially doesn’t always mean monetarily. It can be of your time, or an act of kindness.
Every year a new product comes on the market screaming you must have it! Remember the dad from the movie “Jingle all the Way?” Howard feels he can only win his son’s love and win back his wife by buying his Turbo toy. Please don’t go to all lengths just to find that one gift item. Give of yourself to show you care.
5. Family and Relationships:
Whether you are in a relationship or not, or are spending the holidays with family or not, self-control is vital. I remember before I became a Christian being bummed out if I wasn’t in a relationship and having feelings of depression or loneliness. Do you feel like that? Or maybe you’ve lost a person in your life either through a breakup or death. This can make this time of the year very painful. Like the perils of family drama in “The Family Stone“ or “This Christmas,” we can all say we hate drama. Self-control with our emotions, speech, attitude, and exercising some of the fruits of the Spirit I mentioned is essential.
In conclusion, we’ve discussed these five areas and can perhaps identify with one or more of these movie characters. If you do, take heed, pray and surrender these areas asking the Lord for victory. Don’t get ripped off this holiday season, instead choose to yield to the Spirit and have a very Merry Christmas!