Self-Control vs. Resignation of Control

As far as self-discipline, don’t be too hard on yourself.  What it is, is time and training.  (i.e.:  You train your heart in WWJD choices.)  When you first begin to do anything, walk, learn to type, ride a bike, speak a foreign language, you’re going to stumble.  It’s because it’s new.  But it’s passion and practice that makes the task more fluid and eventually second nature.  Self-control is when you do things under your own power.  God wants you to rely on him and leave it to him.  It takes practice to lean on Him – however, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”   Luckily, the verse doesn’t read “I can do all things if I try hard enough…” – We’d always fall short.

This subject reminds me of my son when he received his first pair of roller skates.  He wanted to be a pro by the end of the day.  He really WANTED to and tried very, very hard, but that wasn’t to be.  That’s because to grow stronger, you have to fall and get back up.  He’s amazing now.  My point is, you have the heart and the passion.  Truly desire Christ.  He’ll lead the way, if you let him. 

The best advice, and what’s made the most remarkable changes in my life, is to spend lots of time studying.  Read bible-based books, study courses, attend services, and if possible, join and engage in small group discussions.  I remember back when I was in self-discipline mode.  I can look back now and see how hard I was trying.  After a few years of just seeping myself in Christ, I can see the growth and so many things are just part of my nature now, that I had to conscientiously think about before.  For example, forgiveness. My old nature was to be angry if someone hurt me or was less than kind – now I pray for them.  I forgive pretty much within minutes – this is not natural to me, it’s something I’ve learned over the years.  It’s a natural reaction for me now,but wasn’t always.  Sanctification (becoming like Christ) takes a lifetime. 

My best advice would be to focus more on whom He is and not what you need to do.  Should you stumble, repent immediately, know you’re forgiven and get back on track.  Another neat thing to do is to keep a prayer journal.  Just jot down your thoughts, it doesn’t have to be elaborate.  It’s really wonderful down the road when you review old notes – you will see how God moves through your life.  I love to go through mine – it’s tangible evidence of his presence in my life and of answered prayers.

God is constant

For hundreds, if not thousands of years, eggs were good.  Then sometime in the 80’s, a new study showed eggs were bad.  Sometime later they were good again.  I’ve lost track of where we are with eggs.

Humanity is in a constant wave of change.  Priorities 100 years ago, nowadays would be underachieving.  The goal for America once was a car in every garage and a chicken in every pot.  Now we have a car for each family member of driving age, family share plans, TV’s in every room, vacation houses…and so on.

Everything changes, hair styles, music, clothing, morals, what’s cool, what’s not cool, politics, technology.  Everything.

Even ourselves as Christians.  We start out baby Christians, Sunday attenders, we add a little, small groups, some form of ministry, we grow and mature, like here we’re taking classes, learning about the servant’s heart and our own gifts and soon we’ll find a place where we fit and make a change once again.

At one point in my life, I was ‘into’ heavy metal, then ‘80’s music, a short stint in country, now Christian music.  God was the same God when I listened to heavy metal as he is now when I listen to Christian.

He was the same God when eggs were bad as he was when they were good. 

—-insert from book about Wind/Change

‘I AM” God says of himself.  In this constantly fluxuating and changing world, I can’t imagine a better thing to anchor myself to that the one who:

Is, always was and forever shall be.

Lord, fill me today with your spirit.  Keep my eyes on you.

Lord, lead me and guide me today and always.  I know you have a plan for me and my life.  Please use me as you will and help me be receptive to your will.

A bit about sin
Sin is in us and it’s powerful.  Temptation is all around us – the opportunity to make ‘a bad choices’ abounds.  To overcome it, you must replace/fill that space with something more powerful.  Christ is more powerful!

Bethany Dillon: All I Need

When the day is done and there’s no one else around
While I’m lying here in bed, You’re in my heart, You’re in my head
You’re all I need, You’re all I need
There are a million voices calling out my name
You’re the one I want to hear
So make the others disappear
You’re all I need, You’re all I need

You are all I need when I’m surrounded
You are all I need if I’m by myself
You fill me when I’m empty
There is nothing else
You’re all I need

When the morning comes and Your mercy is renewed
There’s a fire in my bones, I’m not afraid to go alone
You’re all I need, You’re all I need

The sun on my face, I hear You whisper loud
You’re still the God that opens seas, every flower, even me
You’re all I need, You’re all I need

You are all I need when I’m surrounded
You are all I need if I’m by myself
You fill me when I’m empty
There’s nothing else
You’re all I need

I’m drawn to everything that You do
Nothing compares to You

You are all I need when I’m surrounded
You are all I need if I’m by myself
You fill me when I’m empty
There’s nothing else, You’re all I need
You’re all I need

Lord, please give me a love and passion for your word.

"Praise God, I'm forgiven, washed as pure and white as snow." 

We should always seek God.  He will meet us – Romans 1 says if we do not search for him, he will not search for us (part of our free will), however, as we reach out for him, he too reaches out for us.  He wants us so much, he merely waits for us to call on him and he's there.

Why does God want us to train our hearts?  John 15 – Vine & Branches (read)

To bear fruit for Christ, we must live, dwell, abide in him, always.  To bear fruit doesn’t mean to go out and gather converts for Christ.  To bear fruit is to bascially show something…it can be kindness, forgiveness, patience, self-control, peace, gentleness, joy, love (ie:  fruits of the Spirit.)  When Jesus said, ‘I am the vine and you are the branches…” he meant that if we are part of him, we will reflect his attributes.  An apple tree doesn’t produce pears. In this same sense, if we are part of Christ, it should be evident in us; our lives.

God wants to provide us with victories – but we must seek and trust him.  He won’t just barge in without being asked. 

If we’re not bearing ‘fruit’ we need to ask God where the obstruction is and ask forgiveness and get back on the right track.

We need to learn to allow Christ to flow through us.

Then, when people see these attributes flowing through us, they will be drawn to us, then we can share where these quialtities come from – no one wants to be preached at.  They want to see.  A favorite quote of mine is:  “Preach the gospel always, and when necessary, use words.”  All to God’s glory.

We train out hearts so Jesus can shine through us, uninterrupted.

Evans Roberts: “Confess any known sin to God and put any wrong done to man, right.  Put away any doubtful habit.  Obey the spirit promptly.  Confess your faith in Christ publicly.” This is best done and most effective when is simply apparent in your life and actions.

Train your heart because God wants you.  He wants us.  He wants joy for us, to ‘bear fruit’ easily, naturally, without effort or strain.  Imagine what blessed lives we would have if we can get to this point?  And what a blessing we would be to others.  Use me  Lord! 

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