Self-Control!

Self-Control!

Better a patient person than a warrior, one with selfcontrol than one who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32 NIV

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks selfcontrol. Proverbs 25:28 NIV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.Galatians 5:22-24NIV

Having the ability to control one’s environment establishes a pathway to peace and order and success. Before a person can control their environment, they must begin with exercising self-control in all things at all times. This is a measure of Holy Spirit living within.

Starting with the first verse of scripture reference–let’s look at disciplined warriors. A patient person takes the time to think beyond the moment and establishes strategies to reach a goal, with contingencies for the unexpected, and they complete each step determined needed in order for their strategy to be successful.

An undisciplined warrior–one who is prone to make more noise about what they want to do, but never stops ranting long enough to create a proven strategy to accomplish anything, creates havoc along the way because they don’t anticipate the unexpected.

The second scriptural reference points out that the person who lacks self-control is like a person who breaks through the city walls–huffing and puffing–but has no idea what to do once they get through the wall. The person who exercises self-control has studied the situation and determined what’s on the other side of the wall, before making attempts to get through it so they’ll be ready for any event they encounter.

Now, the evidence–the benchmark or standard–of a person being filled with Holy Spirit and allowing Him to guide in all things is self-control. When we allow Holy Spirit to guide us–and not depend on our own “great brains,” those who are watching us see that we belong to Jesus because we do not allow our flesh to dictate what we do. We do not rant and rave over insignificant events, we do not allow our egos to get in the way of doing anything, we do not provoke others with half-truths and innuendo that attempt to make us look superior to others. This is the evidence of belonging to Jesus Christ. And if we say we belong to Jesus and are not capable of exhibiting the evidence of being filled with Holy Spirit–we lie. If we lie–we reveal Satan is our father.

I’ve always thought it interesting that the evidence–the fruit of having Holy Spirit within–always starts with love and ends with self-control. Everything else–joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and goodness–becomes a part of who we are and how we treat others.

So, if we want people to know where we are in Christ–we must allow Holy Spirit to guide us in all things as learn how to love and act with self-control. We don’t need to tell people to whom we belong, our actions speak much louder than words.

Many Benefits

Many Benefits

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. Proverbs 25:28 NIV

Picture it–a walled city with holes punctured by battering rams–and an entire army from the enemy coming through to either capture or kill those within the walls. Such is the person who is incapable of controlling themselves because they lack discipline–their lack of self-control allows the enemy to come through to capture or kill.

How does that end? The end result for anyone who lacks self-control is disaster–whether it is from a lack of self-control with eating, greed, speaking without thinking, drugs or alcohol, or stealing and lying–whatever it is that refuses to be disciplined in a person’s life–will end in disaster.

But we yet have hope with receiving Holy Spirit into our lives! One of the many benefits of allowing Him room to reign in our hearts is self-control.

With Holy Spirit guiding us–we shower others with love, we know peace and joy, we are compassionate and kind, gentle in reprimands and corrections, but firm in our convictions and faith to do what is right and submitted to Holy Spirit’s guidance to help us be in total control of what we say and do.

If our spirit-being has been ravaged by the holes punctured by the enemy, we may be setting ourselves for rejection by people and Holy Spirit’s guidance. For when our spirits are low–we put our souls at risk when depression seeps in, and clouds of doubt about who we are and what we can do–creep through the holes and blind us to the truth–we are more than conquerors–not because of who we are, but because of who He is.

Perhaps, for some–it is time to allow those holes that have been punctured to be sealed with Holy Spirit so we can receive His many benefits and know wholeness and Holiness, not holeyness (full of holes).

Is it soup yet? Time is marching on and we don’t know the day or the hour of His return, but we can live with the expectant hope of living with Him in glory, when we allow Him to live within while we wait. There are many benefits we can receive when we receive Holy Spirit and allow Him to reign.

Holy Spirit, You are welcome to take up residence in my heart, to guide me all the days of my life and to reign with full authority in teaching me–reminding me daily of God’s Word–keeping me full of love and self-control.

What Holy Spirit Fruit Produces!

What Holy Spirit Fruit Produces!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:22-26 (HCSB).

Yesterday, it was pointed out to me that I should not say, “Trump is not a Christian because I don’t know his heart” (which is true)  and my response was, “I see no evidence of him being one.” For the bible I read (and I read many translations) states, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45 NIV. Therefore, if I judge (righteously) what I hear someone say, there are some conclusions I can draw from what I hear.

But let’s analyze the heart of the man based upon what the fruit we see as Paul outlines in the focus passage of scripture.

Do we see love for all mankind exhibited–without references to any type of hatred for what people do? God loves us unconditionally, even when we mess up and He waits with patience and open arms to get living right for Him. No wall-building with Him simply because we mere mortals don’t exercise His wisdom at all times.

Do we see joy exhibited in Trump–the joy of the Lord–not the elation he feels when he thinks he has emasculated others?

Do we see tenants of peace exhibited in Trump–or do we hear the sounds of war–threats against anyone who dares to disagree with him and promises to make others miserable?

Do we see patience exhibited in Trump–watch him gathering all the information he needs before making a wild, random accusation as we just recently saw regarding a plane going down? Do we really want someone sitting in the White House who reacts to situations rather than patiently respond to them?

Do we see kindness exhibited in Trump–towards all people, not just insipid blondes, rich white men, and those who support racist hatred?

Do we see goodness exhibited in Trump–the kind of good that obeys the tax laws and does not try to skirt them with loop holes, bankruptcies and creative accounting to make sure he pays the least amount of taxes possible (changing the value of what he owns)?

Do we see faith exhibited in Trump–in God–not himself–especially since it’s difficult, it not impossible to see any Godly qualities in the man?

Do we see gentleness exhibited in Trump–when he has a hair-trigger temper and will lash out at anyone for any reason because he doesn’t like it when people speak truth about him?

Do we see self-control exhibited in Trump–when he is quick to use Twitter to react to anything and then he attempts to backpedal everything he says?

Please don’t misunderstand my intent here–it is not to bash Trump, but to simply point out the “lack of evidence” I see of him being a follower of Jesus Christ. Now, if other people see this evidence, I would have to wonder if their eyes have been blinded by bias against Hillary or all who are Democrats.

This post was not intended to be a political assertion of any kind, but to show how those of us who know The Lord and have a relationship with Him should analyze a situation before we vote for someone for the highest office in this country. I concede it might be perceived as purely political by those who read it with bias shielding their eyes and hearts.

I have yet to decide who gets my vote and I’m still lingering over the possibility of simply writing in my own name, since neither of the front-running candidates impress me as the right person to run this country. Whatever I’m impressed of The Lord to do, I shall do because I know He will not lead me in the wrong direction as my feelings certainly could.

Let’s look to The Word, seeking God for direction and put our personal biases aside so that everyone in this country will benefit from the leading of Holy Spirit.

 

 

Holy Spirit Control!

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32 NKJV)

Whenever we hear foul-mouthed conversations in which every other word is profanity, we know Holy Spirit is not governing the person using the profanity. Whenever we see the end results of raging tempers–violence and death–we know Holy Spirit is not governing the person or persons involved. And usually, when one person demonstrates a lack of self-control, they engage or ignite the same type of reaction in others. The problem–people are too reliant upon their own self-control instead of allowing Holy Spirit to control what they say and do.

Submitting our thought-life and our tongues to Holy Spirit is not easy, but it is definitely a better path to take than depending upon our ability to control anything. What does it mean to submit our thought-life? It means that we stop thinking the thoughts that lead us astray. If the enemy tries to plant a thought in our minds that is not honoring God, we submit our response to Holy Spirit and allow Him to replace those thoughts with thoughts of righteousness.

Since most of us are fighting a constant battle with self-control, we are yet a work-in-progress. We have buttons that can be pushed and when we allow others to push them, we forget who we are and whose we are–to let others know, we are not a doormat. But do we really have to let others know anything other than we belong to God?

When we’re attacked–verbally–we don’t need to respond, but under stressful situations when frustration and agitation get in the way, we engage and the heat rises, sparking fires that sometimes rage out of control.

When we’re attacked–physically–we have a right to defend ourselves (though some would argue this) and our families. We do not have a right to instigate foolishness that embroils others into “never-ending feuds” that do nothing but create hostile environments for all. This is especially true for kids who tend to get caught up in stupidity. If a brother or sister starts a fight with someone else–let them handle on their own. If more than one person attacks a sibling, then by all means, we should do our best to protect them.

However, when people do stupid–no matter who it is–family, friends and neighbors should stay out of the fray. I’ve seen entire neighborhoods destroyed because of stupid people who thought they had a right to treat people any way they wanted to treat them and then expect no response by those who are harmed. Those attacked call in reinforcements to counter the action and the feud mushrooms–out of control until someone ends up dead.

When Holy Spirit is “allowed” to control our thoughts–we don’t think stupid-we think pleasing God. When our thought-life is controlled by Holy Spirit, then our tongues speak those things that build, encourage, and edify others. But Holy Spirit has to be allowed to control–He will not force us to do anything, and will allow us to think, say, or do anything we want to do. Of course when we do things that grieve Him, most of us know we need to repent, back up and give Him control so we don’t bring shame upon ourselves and displease God.

Life would be so much better for everyone, all over the world, if we would just allow Holy Spirit to be in control of our lives.

When Holy Spirit Resides Within, The Evidence is Clear!

“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38,39 NIV)

When Peter reminded those listening to him about Jesus–the Savior who came and was crucified for their sins–they wanted to know–what could they do to be saved. And this was Peter’s response–the same as John’s cry in the wilderness–“repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sin and receive the gift of Holy Spirit.”

During a conversation yesterday with a friend, we were talking about why Believers say, they cannot give up vile habits. She said she didn’t understand why folks who claimed to be filled with the Holy Spirit cannot stop smoking (or doing other things that would impact their bodies negatively). Although it is not our job to determine who has been filled or not–when we don’t see any evidence of being filled–self discipline and control–we can draw certain conclusions about the validity of what a person says.

None of us have the power–in of ourselves–to do anything worthwhile. It is truly through the power of Holy Spirit that we can do all things and do them well. We can stop cussing and being ignorant. We can stop smoking (I’m not saying smoking is a sin; it’s just stupid to do something that kills you). We can stop deliberately living a lifestyle that opposes God’s Word–if in fact, we are being led by Holy Spirit. When we see people doing these things and they “say” they are filled with Holy Spirit, it makes me wonder, if they’re listening.

Now, Holy Spirit does not “make us do” anything. He speaks to us–saying only what God says, and convicts us when we are not doing what we’re supposed to do. Many may not listen and then say what they can’t do, but it’s not a matter of what they cannot do; it’s a matter of what they don’t want to do. “We can do all things through Him who strengthens us” when we listen to Holy Spirit.

When people won’t repent and stop doing those things that are not good for them, it’s because of their desires to do them. No one–absolutely no one–who is filled with and led by Holy Spirit–would even want to light up a cigarette, drink themselves into a stupor, get high drugs, commit murder, lie, steal, or engage in sexual immorality. If they do these things, they are grieving the Holy Spirit and He will not dwell in an unclean temple. So, though they might have once been filled–when He leaves–He’s gone and it is truly unfortunate when a person doesn’t even know–they booted Him out and they know longer have His guidance.

The evidence of Holy Spirit residing within us is quite simply–love, joy, peace, forbearance (refraining from doing something), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). Notice that the first criteria or evidence we see is “love” (if we don’t love self, we cannot love anyone else) and the last is “self-control” (allowing Holy Spirit to lead us in all things). If none of this evidence is present in our daily lives, we cannot say we are filled with and led by Holy Spirit (and tell the truth). 

Actually, no Believer should ever have to say anything about being filled Holy Spirit. Everyone looking at us or listening to us should know by our deeds and words who is leading us. This does not mean that we have reached perfection, but we recognize when we have erred and repent quickly, allowing Holy Spirit to guide us.

If we haven’t repented–we need to do so–and be filled and allow Holy Spirit to take control of our lives. When we hear Him and respond, others will see the evidence of His dwelling within us and we don’t have to say anything.

Holy Spirit Production!

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22,23 NLT)

Where there is no love–Holy Spirit is not there.

Where there is no joy–Holy Spirit is not there.

Where there is no peace–Holy Spirit is not there.

Where there is no kindness–Holy Spirit is not there.

Where there is no goodness–Holy Spirit is not there.

Where there is no faithfulness–Holy Spirit is not there.

Where there is no gentleness–Holy Spirit is not there.

Where there is no self-control–Holy Spirit is not there.

If Holy Spirit is not in your life, He is not producing the fruit that is a result of His presence. Stop lying to yourself by saying you are governed by Holy Spirit when no one can see the results of His presence in your life. You are only deceiving yourself.

With Holy Spirit operating in our lives–we are able to love–all–unconditionally and with the love–we seek no harm to anyone, are quick to forgive, and encourage others to come to Jesus because we love them.

With Holy Spirit operating in our lives, the joy of The Lord overflows in our hearts and onto everyone and every situation we encounter.

With Holy Spirit operating in our lives, we understand the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. We are peacemakers–not peace-breakers.

With Holy Spirit operating in our lives, we know how to show kindness to others, even when they have not been kind to us.

With Holy Spirit operating in our lives, we know do all that is right and good in the sight of The Lord and we encourage others to do good at all times.

With Holy Spirit operating in our lives, we are faithful to Him who is always faithful to us and He helps us to be trustworthy in all things.

With Holy Spirit operating in our lives, we know how to teach with gentleness, not being overbearing, but patient with others–no matter how tempting it might be to do otherwise.

With Holy Spirit operating in our lives, we know that we can enjoy all things in MODERATION and we exercise self-control involving all things–what we say, what we do and how we eat.

With Holy Spirit operating in our lives, we can indeed do all things  and do them well since we are not counting on our ability, but His direction and instruction.

A Holy Spirit Production is the result of Him reigning in our lives and only God can get the glory from it. Hallelujah!

 

Self-Control

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—” (2 Timothy 3:2-4 NIV).

In the last days (begins verse 1) there will be terrible times–times in which people who have not acknowledged God, will not study His Word, will not hear Him, will not obey Him, will become–all of these things.

Their priorities will be greed–getting all the money they can amass by any means necessary, no matter how it may impact others.

They will brag about how they cheat and undermine others–bully others into espionage of all sorts in order to gain the upper-hand, financially over others.

They will abuse the power of their positions at home, in business, in communities, and in the government.

They will start by being disobedient to parents because they did not understand that honoring “mother and father” would guarantee them long life and then move out into society with the same spirit, defying spiritual and natural laws to do what they want to do.

They will be unholy–doing all things against God because their god is Satan.

They will be without love because they have never accepted God’s love and they cannot truly love themselves–they are empty and void of compassion for others and they are the only people who matter.

They will hold grudges against others and never forgive even though they are in need of forgiveness themselves.

They will lie and cheat to get what they want without regard to the destruction that occurs along the path they take.

They have never learned to control themselves and function on feelings rather than common sense, they allow negative emotions and thoughts to guide their every move which leads them to becoming brutish–manglers of human beings and murderers without flinching, creating chaos and confusion wherever they go and yet they do not see themselves as they are–devoid of human emotions and ability to interact appropriately with others.

They are more inclined to give into feelings and those negative thoughts that intensify into unbridled lust and they will do anything to gratify the desire.

Carnal, fleshy pleasures mean more to them than loving God and living according to His Word because they lack self-control and do not want to live an orderly life.

These are the people who will not control their thoughts, their mouths or their deeds. They think evil thoughts and then plot to carry them out–they cuss at the drop of a pin and then think it’s their right to infringe upon the rights of others. They are disorderly every where they go–loud and obnoxious–foul-mouthed and dangerous.

They understand “control” when they find themselves locked into situations where others are controlling them–jails, prisons, gangs, mobs.

They do not understand that although they may be locked up or locked into situations; they are never locked out of God’s love--if they are willing to receive it.

These indeed are the last days. The writing is on the walls of society all over the world. What are we–who understand–going to do about it?