Taking Control – YES WE CAN Pt. 3
BAD AS A LIE.”
“EVEN AS NOTHING IS SO ENCOURAGING AND REFRESHING TO THE
HUMAN EYE AS LIGHT, SO NOTHING IS AS EMPOWERING AND
LIBERATING TO THE HUMAN MIND AS TRUTH.”
1. IF YOU SIN AGAIN, IT’S ALL OVER
TRULYA NEUROTIC ILLNESS.”
So many religious people who lose control for a moment in time just give up, give in and quit on the disciplines of self-control. They will say things like, “I feel so unworthy, what’s the use anyway.” Or, “I am just plain no good, there is no hope for someone like me.”
Second, if we fail and fall into that same sin again that we thought we had under control, it does not mean that this is the end. If you will:
The Bible tells us in I John 1:8-9,
truth is not in us.”
sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
God is right there waiting to forgive if we are willing to confess. But I did it so many times before, and now I have done it again. Isn’t there an end to His forgiveness? Both of the above Scriptures are in the ongoing present tense. If we continue to confess, He continues to cleanse. Praise God that the blood of Jesus never loses its power and never stops cleansing. If it did, we would be lost and self-control would then be an exercise in futility.
Don’t put it off! I guarantee that if we lose the purity that we have enjoyed by slipping in the mud again, and we don’t confess it to the Lord and seek His forgiveness, we leave ourselves naked and unguarded against the assaults of the enemy of our souls, the “Great Accuser.” (Revelation 12:10) Satan will stomp our faces in it, with the goal that having rubbed our spirits in the muck and shame of our sin and guilt long enough, he can bind us up in a state of uncontrollable sin, guilt and death. He wants us to give up in despair and fatalism and thereby quit on this stuff of restarting and self-control.
IT TO THE HOLY GOD.“
TO THE PEACE OF BEING FORGIVEN OF IT, AND THE POWER WE RECEIVE
TOREGAIN CONTROL OVER IT.”
And remember this too:
I am sure of that the majority of Christians in Heaven would if they could speak about the rhythm of their lives on earth in this manner:
YES WE CAN!
2. CONCEAL YOURSELF – YOU WILL BE BETTER OFF
Another lie! Of course that is the most natural thing to do. Adam said in Genesis 3:10,
So do we! I mean, it is hard enough for most people to share their spiritual life, let alone their spiritual failures. Not only with God, but even more so with others! I was brought up in a background in which you didn’t even share your spiritual victories, let alone your spiritual defeats. After all, public persona was everything in the church, and if you shared victory over a sin, people would then put two and two together and conclude that you must have lived like a degenerate for a long time. There goes your image!
The fact remains, there are many sins and snares that will never be overcome by self-concealment. Self-concealment is a sure way to be robbed of the victory of self-control. We read in Matthew 18:19-20,
“If TWO, TWO, TWO of you agree on earth about anything…, it shall be done for
them (not for you, her or him) but for THEM by My Father
Who is in Heaven.”
The Holy Spirit wants to use a “Prayer-Paraclete” (one who comes along side of) who can help you pray in faith not only for forgiveness, but for ongoing self-controlled victory over this besetting sin. Such faith-agreement in prayer brings a whole new dimension to our prayer life, and a new high voltage to God’s controlling power in us and through us, for it brings the accountability factor into our lives that has been missing. Jesus assures us here that in the battles and issues of Christian living and warfare:
Even then it certainly is not easy to let others see us and pray with us as we really are, and not as we want them to see us. But James 5:16 commands us to cut through all of that pride and thereby come into the power of God. We read in no uncertain terms,
may behealed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can
It is a Biblical truth:
WELCOME TO KNOW AND TAKE CONTROL OF OURSELVES FOR GODLINESS.”
FLATTERY AND SELF-DEFEAT.”
3. I’M A VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCES AND PEOPLE
Let me put it to you straight:
“IF WE ARE EVER TO DEVELOP SELF-CONTROL, WE MUST PRAY TO GOD FOR
GRACE TO BE ABLE TO NEVER THINK OR SPEAK THE ACCUSING AND
EXCUSING PRONOUN ‘THEY’ AGAIN!”
“BY PLAYING THE BLAME GAME, WE HAVE SUCCESSFULLY LAID THE
FOUNDATION FOR BEING AN OUT-OF-CONTROL PERSON FOR
THE REST OF OUR LIVES.“
WITH WITH GOOD.“
First of all, and hang onto your socks now,
THE BUTTING WILL EVENTUALLY END IF WE DON‘T KICK AND BUTT BACK.“
Secondly, God tells us flat out in I Thessalonians 5:15 and Romans 12:21 that we are responsible for controlling our reactions for good and not for evil. I mean to say, think about it for a moment, what if God had reacted to our sinfulness by only repaying us for our evil, with evil, and not restoring us for our good!? Hey folks,
“IF GOD WAS AN EVEN-STEVEN RETALIATORY GOD, WE WOULD ALREADY BE
Third, the above two Scriptures most obviously teach us, and we must get this deep within us:
“WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS FOR WE CANNOT CONTROL
THEM. WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR REACTIONS FOR
WE CAN CONTROL THEM.”
We pastored in Wyckoff, New Jersey for several years, as well as making many hospital -pastoral calls in Manhattan, New York City. I learned to love New Jersey, the mountains of upstate New York, and the Jersey shore. More than that, we loved our church in Wyckoff, and that love has only grown throughout the years.
Coming from Michigan, it was my first experience with culture shock. You haven’t lived if you haven’t driven a car in New Jersey or New York City. I am sure that there would be those who would immediately say that New York City drivers are the world’s most reckless, barbaric and uncouth drivers on the planet. But New Jersey drivers also have an attitude as well, and it isn’t always or even mainly kindness let me tell you. New Jersey drivers never give an inch and will always take two inches even if there is only one. They see all other drivers as their combatants, and if one of them ticks them off for whatever reason, they see that one as their mortal enemy.
VICTIMIZEUS. WE ARE NOT THE VICTIMS OF THEM,
WE ARE THE VICTIMS OF US.“
Remember this above all:
OF CHRIST IN US IS OUR REACTIONS.”
4. OTHER CHRISTIANS SEEM TO BE STRUGGLE FREE
IN THE MAKING.”
but as Thou wilt.”
Oh come now, don’t be shocked! Jesus was at that moment facing for us what we can’t even begin to imagine, and because of Him will never have to experience. No one ever went through the external stimuli and the internal responses that Jesus felt in Gethsemane. All Hell was coming at Him, and the perfect Son God in His human flesh wanted to turn tail and run.
Any other man’s internal reaction would have been, “No way!” But Jesus said to His Father, “Thy way.” And the great good news is this, that if Jesus controlled Himself there and then to obey the Father’s will, we can exercise self-control anywhere with Jesus Christ in us.
Don’t be ashamed of your struggle! Those times that you are racked with powerful external pressures and surging internal emotions not to do God’s will! Go to God, don’t deny it! Don’t repress it! Don’t you dare put on fake “Holy Garb” and a plastic “Pious Face.” He says through all of that anyway. Go to your Heavenly Father and in all transparency lay it and yourself before Him in prayer:
THAT INME THERE IS A STRONG DESIRE TO GO THE WRONG WAY. BUT
DEAR GOD,NOT MY WANTS BUT YOUR HOLY WILL BE
DONEIN MY LIFE.”
What is the self-controlled Christlike life but the total submission of our will to God’s will? How did Jesus do that, and how could He exercise such incredible self-control when self wanted to run away from such a terrorizing prospect? Jesus diverted the attention of his entire mind and bent of his will to the will of His Father, and He declared His Father’s will to be His choice. He kept the Divine Will as His central focus which is the key to a self-controlled Godly response!
All self-control is rooted in “The Gethsemane Emotion” and “The Gethsemane Choice.” I think that we can safely say that Jesus prayed that prayer not only for our ultimate salvation, but for our example. I believe that anyone who is serious about a self-controlled life for the glory of God best be lifting up Christ’s prayer again and again. Without it, we all are placing ourselves about a fingernail’s sliver from destruction.
RESIST IT.BUT THEY ARE ALSO THE ONLY ONES WHO KNOW THE THRILL
OF VICTORY OVER IT, WHILE ALL OTHERS KNOW ONLY THE
AGONY OF DEFEAT.“
5. IT’S ONLY WORDS – WHAT YOU SAY WON’T HURT YOU
youdown and remove your head
We must note carefully that no one says something like, “I’m a gunner.” No, no, no! They say together:
In other words:
FIRSTINSTANCE THAT MAKES ALL
OF THE DIFFERENCE.”
MYSELF! I CAN DO IT!”
SPIRITDUNAMIS! I CAN DO IT!”
Or this will do:
“LET’S GO UP AND TAKE THIS LAND, FOR GOD HAS SAID THAT HE WOULD
GIVE IT TO US.”
In other words:
But the majority of the spies, the infamous 10, and nearly all of the people with them said:
“WE ARE NOT ABLE. NO WE CAN’T.”
While Joshua and Caleb “Blew The Still,” the ten spies just plain “Blew It.” Joshua and Caleb looked to the strength of God, while the sons of Israel looked to the greatness of the enemy and the comparative weakness of themselves.
How many ways does God convey in His word the pitiful weakness of man and his being close to death with his every breath. God says about all of us in Isaiah 2:22,
BETTERHAVE THE PRAISE OF GOD
IN HIS MOUTH.“
6. YOU NEED TO LET YOUR ANGER OUT
Nothing could be further from the truth! Uncontrolled anger is America’s great, festering ulcer of the soul. Anger is like drugs or booze. Anger makes us emotionally intoxicated and drunk with passion. When we are drunk on anger, we do and say things that wreck marriages and destroy lives. American society is not only filled with “Alcoholics” but with “Angerholics.”
God says to us in Ephesians 4:31,
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put
away from you, along with all malice.”
There they are, for they all are first and second cousins. Where you find one, you will find the whole, rotten mafia family.
But did you notice what the first words are – LET ALL BITTERNESS be put away from you? Not some bitterness, but all bitterness must be driven out of our lives. Carefully note the ALLS. Not one rancid speck of bitterness against anyone may be allowed to settle into the soil of our hearts. It all starts because of some cruel word spoken or cruel deed done to us, and then before long roots of bitterness begin to grow in us as we fertilize and water them with feelings and words of disgust and resentment.
Then look what happens if we don’t get rid of the first “All Of Bitterness.” Then we are filled with the last all in our hearts, “ALL MALICE.” The Greek word for “Bitterness” is “Pikria” which means most literally “Sharpness.” Bitterness is a knife all the while being sharpened in us.
If bitterness is left to its sharpening propensity, it will in the end fill us with “All MALICE.” That’s bad, really bad, for the Greek word for “Malice” is “Kakia” which means just plain “Bad.” If you will, “Bad To The Bone.” The path from “Pikria” to “Kakia” brings you into a state of being totally 0ut of control. The word malice has at its evil essence the desire to hurt or destroy someone with the now razor sharp weapon of bitterness. This scenario is carried out everyday in murders and torture in American homes, neighborhoods, and places of business.
Follow me closely! We go through a process from “Pikria” to “Kakia,” from feeling badness to being badness. Wrath has to do with the mind as we obsess in our thinking about the dastardly and despicable thing that the crudball did to us. Anger has to do with the emotions. Bitterness begins not only to ferment in or heads but also in our hearts. Then we constantly rant and rave about the scoundrel which is Clamor, as well as evil names and expletives against the scoundrel flowing out of our mouths which is Slander. By this time if looks and words could kill, the bum would be dead and buried.
But, the real point is, if you don’t get rid of the first all, you end up with the last all, and find yourself in court for first degree murder. It gives meaning to the cliche,
God says, “Nip it, all of it!” Put bitterness away from you, and when you do all of the other gunk will leave with it. And the only way to do that is to forgive the offender on the spot! (Verse 32) If we don’t forgive:
“THEN INSTEAD OF BECOMING AGENTS OF RECONCILIATION, WE BECOME
BEASTS OF PREY.“
“THEY CRY OUT FOR THE MERCY AND THE FORGIVENESS WHICH THEY
TOTALLY DENIED OTHERS.”
7. I CAN’T CONTROL MYSELF
Or to put it another way:
“IN CHRIST, ‘I CAN’T’ IS ALWAYS A LIE. APART FROM CHRIST
‘I CAN’T’ IS ALWAYS THE TRUTH.”
“IN CHRIST FOR THE CHRISTIAN IT IS NEVER A MATTER OF WEAK OR
STRONG, LOW OR HIGH SELF-CONTROL. IT IS ALWAYS A
MATTER OF THINKING AND SPEAKING
TRUTH OR LIES.”
The second principle is:
“I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me.”
Listen to the Psalmist in Psalm 51:6,
God wants us to have truth in the “Control Central” of our being. If you will, truth in the heart of hearts! Whether we know it or not, there is a multi-dimensional “Internal Monologue” taking place deep within us 24 hours a day. Even while we sleep, that internal monologue talks to us deep within. Either it is a truth monologue or an untruth monologue. That is why it is so critically important to have truth at the inner core of our being.
The Psalmist says in Psalm 119:11,
“Thy Word have I treasured in my heart, that I may
not sin against Thee.”
There it is! Self-control is having the truth of God’s Word permeating our inner self. The problem is that Christians are hearing and being told untruths in this world 24/7. Then the truth of God’s Word gets shoved off on some shelves somewhere inside of us. I have seen this happen again and again, as for example homosexuality being characterized as genetic, and therefore the gay community cannot help themselves, for they were born that way.
Untruth then begins to shelve truth, and truth gets stuck off on the side even in believers. Untruth then controls the mind, the emotions and the actions of many homosexuals who were brought up in the church. Untruth is at the center of their internal monologue.
“UNTRUTHS WILL ALWAYS BE AT THE HEART OF UNCONTROLLED, SINFUL
PATTERNS IN OUR LIVES.”
In other words:
PATTERNS ANDYOU WILL FIND THAT THEY IT IS FILLED
WITH UNTRUTHS. ALWAYS!”
OF SELF-CONTROL BECAUSE YOU NOW HAVE THE STRONG HEARTBEAT
OF GODAND NO LONGER THE HEARTBEAT OF THE DEVIL.”
BLOOD OFTRUTH TO THE MUSCLE OF SELF-CONTROL.”
A FEW REAL LIFE SITUATIONS
Now let’s apply this concretely to some real-life situations. The unmarried girl who professes to be a Christian becomes pregnant and says, “I couldn’t help myself! We were drawn together like magnets. I couldn’t say no!” That is her internal monologue, and whether she knows it or not, it is full of lies.
Lie #1 is when she says, “I couldn’t help it.” The truth is that with Christ she was not helpless, for with Christ’s help through the dunamis of the Holy Spirit she could have stopped. Psalm 121:1 assures us:
“I will lift up mine eyes to the mountains, from whence shall my help come?”
“My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.”
“He will not allow your foot to slip….”
Lie #2 is the implication that, “I can’t means I need.” Because we love each other so much, we need each other, and because we need each other, we must have all of each other. She is confusing “I need” with “I want.” She is confusing “I can’t” with “I want.” It isn’t a matter of need, but of want. That is also why it is so difficult to counsel adulterers, those who are being unfaithful to their spouses. They confuse “I Can’t Stop” with “I Want” and “I Want“with “I Need.” And whatever Lola wants, Lola needs.
“Whom have I in Heaven but thee? and besides Thee, I desire
nothing on earth.”
She wanted/needed someone besides and more than God, and got what she wanted/needed.
NECESSITY. THATMEANS FOR THEM OF COURSE THAT LIVING
WITHOUT THEIR WANTSIS AN IMPOSSIBILITY.”
For after all:
“But only a few things are necessary, really only one….”
“Martha, you only need Me, and to live and learn from Me.”