Decide for Yourself, Who Has Control - Part 9
My Dear Friends,
This series has come to an end. I have truly enjoyed this journey into The 9 Now with you. I hope you have been Inspired, Encouraged, and Challenged on how your intentional decisions to reject the desires of the flesh and walk by the Spirit will have a lasting impact on yourself and others.
Have you ever wondered about the intentional use of words, structural order, and heart behind how God chose to communicate to us in the Bible? For me the passage in Galatians 5:22-24 is one such example. God gives us Love, Peace, and Joy so we can respond with Patience, Kindness, Goodness which allows our growth in Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. This free gift (the give) sparks our maturity with the necessary decisions (the response) to allow God (via the Holy Spirit) to transform us into His image (the growth). God was intentional, in my eyes, to start with Love as the first fruit of the Spirit and allow us the opportunity to finish with Self-Control. 1 Corinthians 13 states God’s greatest gift is love. I believe our greatest form of appreciation is to respond with a gift of Self-Control.
It Takes Many Forms
Self-Control is the ability to control one’s self, specifically your emotions and desires. It’s moving from what we want to do (the flesh), to what is the best decision for ourselves and others (the Spirit). God’s love is what prepared me to write this series and years of growth in my relationship with The Holy Spirit allowed me the self-control to hear and respond. Each day you and I are given opportunities, battles, trials, or however you like to see them, to be shown how important we are to God and our response to these allow us to demonstrate how serious we are Him. Each of us are faced with our internal battles, some more than others. For you it may be a battle with what words you choose to use on a given day. Perhaps you find yourself gossiping about other people, perhaps your anger lets out fits of rage which you compliment with not so complimentary words. Maybe your battle is what you eat, how much you’re eating, why you’re eating what you eat. Some look to sexual images to find comfort and this is their battle. Maybe it’s with your time, how it’s spent and with whom. Regardless the battle, it’s the thought, act, and reflection stages (see chart below) that will allow us to learn and grow.
What’s Most Important?
If you can relate to any of the battles listed above, I encourage you to take a moment and truthfully evaluate whether you tend to respond according to the flesh or the Spirit? Think about this from the lens of trusting in your abilities (the flesh) or trusting in the self-control given by The Holy Spirit. Know this. You cannot change on your own, you need God’s helper, The Holy Spirit. He will equip you, lead you, and counsel you at all times. You need only to trust Him and allow Him to work in and through you. Prayer, being prayed for, time in the Bible, and others giving you Words of Encouragement will be your formula to success. Success will be realized when faced with a battle (or when the one you’re in now), no longer gets the default desires of the flesh, but rather a thought-through, prayed-over, spirit-filled response. The goal is growth, change, and transformation. Perfection is not your focus. If you find yourself desiring perfection, feeling guilty or shameful when you stumble, look up and invite in the one who redeemed you. Repent and ask for guidance. Listen.
I have created this simple, yet effective chart to help you measure your growth and relationship with God and His Helper.
So what about you?
Are you in a struggle with your love for this world? This entire series has been one about exposing our desires of the flesh (worldly) and encouraging each of you to walk in the Spirit (Kingdom minded). In 1 John 2:15-17 the author tells the readers “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from The Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
Bookmark this series and come back to it whenever you need a Word of Encouragement.
Please take a minute now to share a short story, tip, scripture, or quote to encourage others.
If you have an idea for a topic, I would love to hear from you. You can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Hewitt, the WOE Writer