BOOK OF GOD'S PROMISES
J. Stephen Lang
-- After the 1960s it appeared that self-control was as outmoded as the
horse and buggy. Then it came back into style -- in physical fitness and dieting,
anyway. The sidewalks and parks across the country are cluttered with self-denying
individuals beating their bodies into submission. And for what reason?
this the kind of self-control God desires from us? Maybe. The Bible has a few
things to say about gluttony and excessive drinking. But the self-control the
Bible applauds is a different thing: saying yes to God, saying no to any selfish
urges that lead us away from God or hinder us from loving other people.
without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.
An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch
and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of
his incredible folly.
Jesus said to the disciples, "If
any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition,
shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself,
you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life.
And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the
process? Is anything worth more than your soul? For I, the Son of Man, will come
in the glory of my Father with his angels and will judge all people according
to their deeds."
"I assure you, everyone who has given
up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom
of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, as well as receiving eternal
life in the world to come."
Our old sinful selves were crucified
with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves
God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but
of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
When the Holy Spirit
controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here
there is no conflict with the law.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed
the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them
there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's
leading in every part of our lives.
more than abstaining from certain sinful behaviors. It also means resisting our
natural impulse to retaliate, as Jesus made clear:
"Don't resist an evil person!
If you are slapped on the right cheek, turn the other, too. If you are ordered
to court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands
that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask,
and don't turn away from those who want to borrow."
The Book of God's Promises -- Copyright, 1999 by J.
Stephen Lang. All rights reserved, used with permission.
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