Friday, December 27, 2013

Self-control and reasons to obey

The other week I was sitting in a church meeting as we were discussing some commandments and why we obey them. The question was asked on how to stay in line with the commandments and why we are obedient. Many different answers were given and each answer has some value and use to each participant. As I listened, I started to think about how I live my life in accordance with the commandments and why I do. I don't expect my answer to work for everyone else since everyone has their own preferences, strengths, and etc.

I idealize that every one of my decisions is going to based on the grand premise of what will make me happiest. Through my experiences I have found that deviating from the commandments may provide some immediate gratification but it does not necessarily yield greater happiness. When I do stray, I feel a sense of guilt and remorse. For many people that should be enough to stop the behavior, but yet for others it isn't always enough. Feelings are temporary and are easily forgotten. What our brain processes is typically the now. In the moment of temptation the immediate natural response is to take the instant pleasure, which  can be all too enticing. See this following video clip.

I eventually decided to look at these temptations with God out of the equation and look at it completely from a temporal perspective. For examples sake, I will look specifically at chastity. In my relationships with girls I have learned that while passionate kissing is fun it is also addicting. Strong feelings emerge from these actions and cloud my judgment. What if I just had sex and got that sexual tension out of the way? What harm would it do? Well would that have made my relationship better and allowed me to also focus on the more important aspects of the relationship such as mutual respect, communication, and common ideas? I honestly don't know but I don't believe it will. More than sex I want a strong fulfilling relationship. Incorporating sexual behavior seems to detract from other more important aspects of the relationship, especially in the spring of the relationship.  I also believe that limiting one's sexual encounters to just one person will help increase mutual respect, desire, and love between a couple. You may disagree, but for me I believe this to be true.

Also I find great satisfaction in having self control. This past year I have taken up running more and as many know, running isn't very easy. Every time I go I always want to stop because walking is a lot more pleasant than running. It's a mental game for me but so many times I just keep going and push through those endless minutes when I want to stop. This has taught me that I can do hard things. The increased health not only makes me feel good but I feel a great deal of satisfaction of knowing I ran those few miles and I didn't quit. Remaining sexually pure is also a matter of self-control. It's about saying no to the moment.

We all have our moments of weakness though, and for some saying no to ending a run short is harder than others just as saying no to an advancing mate is harder than others. If we do give in, it's not the end of the world. There is always the chance to be better. If you do give in, you shouldn't feel bad because feeling bad doesn't motivate us to change. What really motivates us to change is to imagine the good that will come with that change. You have to disconnect yourself from the now and view these decisions on a broader scale.

I choose to remain sexually pure not necessarily because God commanded it, but because I have found that it yields greater happiness and as I believe/hope yields for higher quality relationships in the future. It just so happens that this lifestyle is also in line with what I believe to be God's commandments. I no longer view it as an obligatory commandment I must obey because some supreme Diety says it's bad, but I view it as a path to joy.

As I prefaced, this is what seems to work for me but everyone is different and I encourage you to find what works for you.

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