Tag Archives: self-control

How Can I Get Salvation?

You may be driving around the car dealerships one day when you notice a brand new Rolls-Royce at the dealership. It is your favorite color; has all the features you would ever want in a car; and if you owned it, people would really think you were somebody. However there is one problem, the price tag is more than you would earn in a few years.

Since you cannot afford the car, there are two options you could consider: You could steal the car or you could convince someone to buy it for you as a gift. If you stole the car people would think that you owned it. They would really think you were important. For a short time you would be able to drive it around and enjoy all of the features the car had to offer. However, the enjoyment of having the car will be only temporary. It would only last until the cops catch you with the stolen car. If you accidently damaged the car, it would not really matter since it really is not your car.

On the other hand, suppose someone would agree to buy the car for you. You would first of all have to accept the offer then you would have to acknowledge who paid for the car. You would also make sure that your name on the car title. If the person buying the car for you was a very special person, he may even offer to pay for the maintenance of the car and for any damage that may happen to it in the event you had an accident.

The gift of salvation is like the car. God has a custom plan just for your life. It will include every feature that you would ever need.  

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19(NIV).

In addition to your gift of salvation, you would be able to experience love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Salvation, just like the Rolls Royce, cannot be bought with your own resources.

Since you cannot buy God’s gift of salvation, you would have two options. First, you could try to steal your salvation. You could make people think that you were a Christian. You may tell everyone that you are going to heaven when you die. You could give large sums of money to charity. You may enjoy some of the benefits but they will be only temporary. There will come a day when you must answer to God about your stolen salvation. Matthew 22:11-13 describes the person that tries to steal his salvation.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.

 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 22:11-13(NIV)

If you stole your salvation or tried to buy it with your own resources, you would not experience true love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The most you enjoy would be fake love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. However if you ever found yourself wanting to do something that was not Christ-like behavior, you could tell those people involved that you really weren’t a Christian. You could enjoy your sin for a short period of time until you needed to answer to God.

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:25-26(NIV)

Worst of all, a stolen salvation leads to eternity in the Lake of Fire with the Devil.

And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10(NIV))

The good news is that Jesus paid the price for you salvation. But just like the Rolls Royce, you need to accept the gift and acknowledge that Jesus paid the price.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. John 3:35-36(NIV)

When you accept God’s gift of salvation, God records your name in the book of life. This assures you that Jesus paid the price for your salvation and that God’s grace was sufficient for your salvation. You will also be spared from going to the lake of fire.

Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15.(NIV)

Because your name was written in the book of life, you will spend eternity in heaven with God.

“I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Revelation 21:22-27(NIV)

Many people believe they can earn their own way to heaven. They believe they can do whatever they please and God will still accept them in heaven. It is true that Jesus died for everyone but only those who accept the gift of salvation will be accepted.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:1-10(NIV)

Are you going to steal your salvation or are you going to accept the gift of salvation that has been made available to you through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection? The choice is yours. If you accept God’s gift of salvation, you will bear the ‘fruit of the Spirit’.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26(NIV)

NOTE: All scripture in this blog was downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

Are you Being Controlled?

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16(NIV)

The Bible tells us a lot about control. However it is usually referring to ‘self-control’. We answer to God regarding our actions. We  are instructed to control our own behavior and not the behavior of others.

The difference between being controlled and being obedient is an act of the will. Obedience results when we willingly accept the instruction of the person we are serving. With obedience, we do what we are expected to do to meet the obligation of a contractual agreement, whether the agreement is written or spoken.

Obedience brings benefits to the person who is obedient. It may be a salary, vacation, bonus, health insurance, retirement income, etc. However when you are being controlled by another person, the benefits go to the person that is doing the controlling.

Being controlled by someone else is when you are coerced into a given behavior. Frequently we think of this as ‘being manipulated’. In Romans 6, Paul is referring to this as slavery. When someone controls our behavior, we become slaves to the person who is controlling us.

Why do people allow themselves to be controlled by others? It is usually because of fear.

For instance, in the marriage relationship, when one spouse attempts to control the other spouse, it usually results from the fear of losing the relationship. There is fear for both spouses. One spouse feels that if they do not their spouse, they will lose the marriage while the other spouse acts out of the same fear. In other words, they want the marriage to be the way they dreamed it would be and not the way their spouse dreamed it would be.

Another example is the parent that instills fear in their children by always threatening them with negative consequences every time they behave differently that the parent wants want it to be. Frequently, the parents are fearful that their children will act in a way that will cause the parents embarrassment or make them look less important than they want people to believe. The child fears the consequences of not doing what the parent wants them to do. The parents fears that people will find out that they are not as good as they want people to think. It is a fear that their deceptions will be uncovered.

Sometime we allow ourselves to be controlled because we are fearful of making a wrong decision. We do not have the confidence we need to make those decisions. We are afraid of what people will think of us if we make a mistake.

In our daily lives, we often hear about some type of bullying taking place. Bullying is a form of controlling another person’s behavior. Bullying is using a form of fear for coercing the bullied person to behave in a way acceptable to the bully. If that person failed to comply with the bully’s request, they will experience some type of pain or death.

What Paul is saying in his letter to the Romans is this: If we comply with a controller’s demands, we are a slave to that controller.

 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:16-18(NIV)

If you are allowing someone to control your life you are living in fear and not in love.

“But you, Israel, my servant Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:8-10(NIV)

God was telling Jacob not to fear because God had chosen him. God would be with him, strengthen him and help him. If you have accepted God’s gift of salvation, God has chosen you. He wants you to be filled with love, not fear. He wants you to be obedient to him and to follow him out of love.

When someone else wants you to become their slave turn your situation over to God. He will supply all of your needs and do it with love, not fear.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19(NIV)

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog has been downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

Controlled by the Holy Spirit…or Selfish Ambitions?

God’s desire for all Christians is that they be filled with the spirit and to live like Christ lived while he was on earth. In Galatians 5:13-26, Paul compares the behaviors that result when we follow our flesh (selfish desires) with the behaviors of those who are being led by the Holy Spirit.

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:13-26(NIV)

When you compare the list of behaviors of those following the flesh (self) with the behaviors of those who are following the Spirit, you will see there are more behaviors listed for those following self than there are behaviors listed for those who are following the Spirit. Sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, orgies, and the like are behaviors that are characteristics of people who ‘God has given over’ to their selfishly ambitions. (See Romans 1) These are also activities that we are told to resist. So if we are loving the one and only God the way He intended, we will not display these behaviors. In other words will be no spiritual counterpart to those behaviors Paul says that the Spirit and self are in “conflict with each other”. If you remove the behaviors for self that result from God giving us over to our selfish desires,  you will have nine behaviors left in the list. These behaviors are opposites.  In other words, we are moving either toward selfish ambitions or toward being filled with the Spirit. The pairs of behaviors are:

  1. Hatred v. loved
  2. Discord v. joy
  3. Jealousy v. peace
  4. Fits of rage v. forbearance
  5. Selfish ambitions v. kindness
  6. Dissensions v. goodness
  7. Factions v. faithfulness
  8. Envy v. gentleness
  9. Drunkenness v. self-control

Using a continuum with the nine behaviors of flesh on the left and the nine behaviors of the Spirit on the right and a rating of 1-10 between the two behaviors, you should have something that looks like this.

FLESHLY BEHAVIOR

RATING

SPIRITUAL BEHAVIOR

Hatred

1

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

10

Love

Discord

1

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

10

Joy

Jealousy

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Peace

Fits of rage

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Forbearance

Selfish ambitions

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Kindness

Dissensions

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Goodness

Factions

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Faithfulness

Envy

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Gentleness

Drunkenness 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Self-control

  Using the continuum, you can search your own heart and determine where you are in your Spiritual walk as it pertains to the nine behaviors listed.

(EXAMPLE:  suppose you display hatred about half of the time and love about half of the time, you would put a mark on 5 or 6.)

Use this procedure to evaluate your behavior on each line until you have completed all nine behaviors. Are you following flesh or Spirit?

If your evaluation yield “5” or less, perhaps you have not crucified the “flesh with its passions and desires” and are following your fleshly desires.  In the areas where you are rated low, you should pray that God will help you sacrifice your selfish desires and help you grow toward a Spirit filled life.

Repeat this evaluation process periodically. Then compare your current assessments to your earlier assessment to determine if you are moving toward spiritual behavior or fleshly behavior. Do not compare yourself to another Christian if you want to become like Christ because Christ is the standard that we need to use.

I would suggest that you start with the behavior that has the lowest rating. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit regarding this behavior. Then read passages of Scripture that deal with the behavior and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in determining what will help you have a better rating, or in other words what activities will help you become more like Christ.

NOTE: In the event you are consistently between “5” and “6”, you are in the same place as the Church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22. You are only lukewarm. However, when you are “filled with the Spirit” you will have a consistent rating of “10” in all behaviors. God’s desire is for us to be “filled with the Spirit.” We cannot become like Christ if we are following our selfish desires.

Scripture used in this blog have been downloaded from Biblegateway.com.