Self-Mastery by Erwin McManus

At M2012, Erwin McManus shared the following thoughts on Self-Mastery:

“It seems that the local church has been really good at bringing in healthy people and convincing them to follow Jesus, but we have not seemed to be able to make a difference among the broken and the dysfunctional.

Have you found yourself trying one method after another trying to figure out how to truly help people?

When we give Jesus our life, we struggle because we are giving Him something we don’t have control over. It is incredibly powerful to see someone fully aware of who they are and give all of who they are to God.

Self-mastery happens when we take ownership of our lives. The way we think about the future determines how we respond to it. For example, “don’t thank me, thank the Lord.” We abdicate responsibility when we blame God with all the credit. “No, it was you, and the Lord is really, really pleased with you.” Our language intended to uphold the sovereignty of God has actually diminished the will of man. Help those you are investing in to take responsibility. The moment we abdicate responsibility for a problem is the moment we have become powerless to fix the problem.

“Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Romans 12:1  This is incredibly powerful language about taking ownership!

Reward your kids when they do right AND when they take ownership of when they’ve done wrong.

Listen: are they losing circumstantial language? Helping people become self-aware helps them see what they haven’t seen before. This gives you a better chance to help them take ownership.

God gave Adam and Eve ownership and responsibility. He didn’t say: “Don’t do anything until I come back!” To Cain, God said: “If you do what is right….” And warned him: “Sin wants to take mastery over you.” Cain had a choice, and so do we!

Learn from everyone you can!

Self-mastery takes place through the right mindset.

“Take every thought captive.” Seems like an impossibility, but in reality this is about mindset. When your thoughts are informed by the hope we have in Jesus, everything changes.

Focus on all the good or you can become overwhelmed with all the bad.

We’ve seen people crumble when facing far less. When we make it through our challenges it gives others hope.

Don’t let evil thoughts invade your space! Don’t let an evil thought turn into a choir. Become brutal with those thoughts. Ask yourself: if I followed these thoughts through, will that lead me to become the person Christ wants me to be? If not, stop there and replace those thoughts with the truth. Community can be an amazing source of clarity. Focus on the beautiful!

Listen: are they talking about their present as if it is murky? Our future is mysterious, but our present should not be.

Self-mastery means harnessing our energy in the right way.

Listen: are they using language about burning out?

People do not burn out from working too much but really from a lack of intention. We need to learn to say no and take charge of our calendar and find others who are good at what I am not.

Who are the people in your life that are draining? Move towards relationships that are mutually beneficial. Counseling can be energizing when they are making the changes they know they need to make. “We will meet again when you do this…..”

Create the good rather than try to diffuse evil.

Too many people turn to Jesus for heaven and Oprah for help. We can help the world around us!”

For more from Erwin and Mosaic, go to and take advantage of these free resources.

  • Margaret

    I wonder if the “don’t thank me, thank the Lord” isn’t just part of the struggle of self-mastery but also part of the struggle with pride. We’re not sure where to draw the line when accepting responsibility and appearing boastful or appearing to take over God’s credit. Great thoughts!

Free Consultation

If you're interested in a free 30-min consultation with me, simply fill out this form and I'll contact you!

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt