Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Have Self-Control...Really

I have self-control.

I HAVE self-control.


No matter how I say it, sometimes I wonder.

I sat with my mentor last week as she repeated, “You have self-control". I was talking to her about my unceasing tongue. I spend my days, largely, alone. When I get into public, I say so many more words than in private that I think I must be talking too much. I have reduced it to an issue of self-control, while others inform me that this might be my perception. I am on the fence.

This dangerous balancing act is due to the conversation in my head, of which I am most aware. I believe that if you can have two conversations, one out of your mouth and the other your inner voice saying, “Stop talking now”, that means that it is time to ‘shut the gate’ (my mouth).

When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them (Romans 2:14 & 15, NRSV).

These conflicting thoughts in my head can reflect the law that is written on my heart. It is the ‘law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus’. I can’t think of anyone that I know who does not experience uncertainty in some life or spiritual matters. The good news is that we are normal.

Conflicting thoughts are evidence of our own conscience bearing witness to the Spirit intermingling with the world. We feel these twinges that make us so uncomfortable, but really we are on the right path. The trick is not pitch a tent in the land of conflicting thoughts.

Eventually, they bring us to the right decision by telling us to stop talking so much, or get out of a bad relationship, or don’t you dare touch that piece of cake. They can also tell us that our current path is worth sticking to, because it is a useful avenue for the Spirit.

This conflict, although Spiritually driven, can make us feel insecure. So, let’s remember what exactly lives inside of you and me.

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you (Romans 8:9-11, NRSV).

We are no longer subject to this body because we are indwelled by the Spirit. This being the case, we have the exact same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead nested in this body. What a handy portable unit! I boast in my God for offering this Spirit to a motley crew like us.

Bear with me here, but I think that if I have the same power living in me that was present at the Resurrection of Jesus, I can probably manage to keep my mouth shut by yielding to the Spirit. I can probably shed ten pounds. I can probably serve at my church. There is no telling what I can accomplish.

How do I know it? Because…the bible tells me so,

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:22-24, NRSV).

Sometimes we assign certain created things power in our lives. It can be chocolate, servitude, shopping, or TV time, just to name a few. These are what hold some invisible power over us. Sometimes, the way that I feel becomes my reason for not accomplishing the basics. Things around me suffer because I don’t feel like it.

Believe me when I say that today’s words are for me. It is time that I declare victory over some things in my life. I am a child of the Most High, I am dead to the flesh (how I feel), I am alive through the Spirit of God that lives in me, and this Spirit bears fruit to believers. I qualify to be empowered and transformed by this Spirit, so today my life CAN be different.

Today I will do everything that I recognize is good for me, my home and the ones that I love because I have the Spirit who will give me strength. I will not eat dessert after every meal. I will love shamelessly, and I will put my heart in the way of strangers. Oh, and I will ‘shut the gate’, when I feel prompted.

Why? Because, I HAVE SELF-CONTROL!!!

What will you conquer today through the power of the Holy Spirit?

Father, thank you for your Spirit. Send it to empower us in ways that have defeated us before. Let us understand the very power that lives inside us.

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