Edmund Hilary the first man who conquered Mount Everest was asked by an interviewer about his passion for climbing mountains. He gave this reply: "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."
Can we conquer ourselves?
Do we have the ability to control our emotions and behavior and desires in the face of external demands? Even though I am on a diet, will I resist the cake and ice cream in front of me.? Even though I am tired, will I ride my daily ten mile jaunt? Even though someone is calling me names, will I respond with peace
Can we conquer ourselves?
Maybe in some things, but not in all. We need God as our help and strength. Alcoholics Anonymous recognizes this truth. They understand a person cannot break their habit of drinking on their own; they need to look to a power greater than themselves. They cannot control their drinking without God helping control it.
"Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control" (Proverbs 25:28). What does that mean? If the city wall is broken down, the enemy can enter in easily. If the city wall is broken down, the diet can be destroyed by unhealthy food. If the city wall is broken down, pornography will destroy any desire to be pure. If the city wall is broken down, laziness will block a person from going to work. If the city wall is broken down, rage will overwhelm a person when somebody slows them down.
Where does self-control come from? God. The apostle Paul lists self-control as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. In other words, as one surrenders to the yielding to the Holy Spirit, the more one practices self-control. As we grow in trust in the Lord, he will empower us to practice self-control. Here is the amazing paradox of life. The more we allow God to control us the more self-control we will have. We have to give up control to practice self-control. We don't focus on self-control to gain self-control. We focus on God, and he will provide self-control. What irony!
A traveler in Ceylon tells the following story: "As I was dining in a home I was startled to hear the hostess ask her servant to place a bowl of milk on the deer skin beside her chair. I knew at once that there was a cobra in the room, for they prefer milk to anything else. We also knew that a hasty movement meant death, so we sat like statues. Soon, to our amazement, a cobra uncoiled from my hostess' ankle and swiftly glided toward the milk, where it was quickly killed." What a triumph of self-control over the external! But if we use the same quiet trust in Christ as this woman did in the bowl of milk, when the serpent of all evil approaches us, internal triumphs over him would be more numerous than they are now.( Record of Christian Work.)