Monday, August 1, 2016

PRAY FOR.....SELF-CONTROL

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers (1 Peter 4:7)
Serious times demand serious and focused conduct from the people of God. We should be identified by the Spirit of peace, compassion but intense spiritual maturity and this is only possible if we are functioning within the lines prescribed by Abba Father,  and pressing ahead in the paradigm of prayer.

The great Apostle Peter is speaking directly to the people of the Lord, and the message is clear. If we live as the world - full of corruption and double-minded, with no sense of who we are, Whose we are and what is expected of us, we are just howling at the wind like the pagan Israelites of the the Northern Kingdom after the Kingdom split, following the death of King Solomon.

This is what we call in the business - "preaching to oneself"! Therefore, there is no way anyone, spiritually mature or not, can speak about self-control without searching the depths of our owns souls to see if we are in alignment with the Word of God. Times are too critical and there is too much at stake to do otherwise.

Self-control, or self-discipline, is a gift from God. 2 Timothy 1:7 tell us that "God did not give us a spirit of timidity (a gift) but one of power (a gift); love (another gift) and a self-discipline (a tremendously important gift)". Without self-control or self-discipline,  we would be in constant trouble and totally out of the Will of the Father. 

Proverbs 25:28 tells us that "A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls".
1 Corinthians 6:19 says "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own" - therefore "control yourself, man"!

We are told to control what comes out of our mouths as well.  Psalm 141:3 tells us as the Father to "Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!" We are also encouraged to turn from lust and sexual sin here in Romans 6:12  as God warns us to "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions."

One of the Fruits of the Spirit is self-control. This means that the born-again, spirit-filled daughter or son of God, who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Master of our lives, is expected by definition to be not conformed to this world. We may have struggles to stay away from over-eating or the lust of the flesh/eyes etc. but because Christ lives in us, through the Spirit of God, we have no choice but to challenge ourselves to walk the "straight and narrow"....and succeed at it, in HIS Power. In other words, we - God's people - can do ALL things, and no bad things, through Christ Who strengthens us!

Any great woman or man of God, who has lived the life of Faith for any length of time, will tell you that their greatest fear is messing up...or losing self-control. This is why we are told to reboot our Faith daily, so we can die to the things of the flesh daily, in order to concentrate on the "things of the Spirit" - or God's Will, Way and Purpose for our lives. Just in case we think we are the only ones who have some sort of problem with self-control, the great Apostle Paul who wrote most of the New Testament himself said  the following from Romans 7:15-20:
15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 
17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 
19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

And so, we pray : "Oh most kind and gracious God and Father in Heaven, we thank You that You know us more than any human can ever know us. We thank you that You are our Creator, Giver and Sustainer of Life, Who holds our every breath in Your Hands- Your Mighty and Capable Hands and loves us so much to ever leave us to our own devices. We know that You have given over the corrupt, unsaved and perverted to their own lusts and devices because they have rejected You, where they will die in their sins. You said so in Romans 1:18-32. But because You loved the world so much that many like Your remnant, trust completely in You, You gave us a spirit and the ability to discipline ourselves to first see and understand the high standard of morality and Faith which is required of us, and then how to maintain this standard. 

Thank You so much Father, we are so eternally grateful that the Lord Jesus prayed for us in John 17 that even though we live in this world, we are not OF this world, and He has given us the Holy Spirit to keep us in right order so we are NOT disqualified by evil and immoral actions. But that our consciences will be seared, convicted and that we may see the potential consequences of any potential sin BEFORE it happens, so we are then able to redirect our actions, thoughts and focus to You, the Great God of Heaven, that we may never, ever, never disappoint You. Thank You for embedding this Fruit of the Spirit in us: self-control and self-discipline, that we may be like Christ - obedient even unto the Cross, Who considered Himself poor and humble even though He had cause to be otherwise. We love You too much to knowingly disappoint You, even though we have do so too many times in the past, to our shame. But now, we resolved to be sober-minded and serious, so sin will not reign in our bodies, but Christ will. Christ will! We believe that, with all our bodies, souls, minds and strength, in Jesus' Holy Name, Amen.


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