Showing posts with label Patience. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Patience. Show all posts

Randall Brewer On 'Taking Control'

Text: Proverbs 16:32; 25:28; James 1:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-9

Control is a big deal to me. I love being a Christian and the freedom it gives me to take control of my own life and destiny. I believe that life is what you make it and the road on which I have chosen to travel was determined by a surrender of my will to that of the Heavenly Father.

I struggle when things beyond my control close in around me in an effort to shape and form my life. It seems like a roadblock has been put in front of me on my journey down the highway of like and I don’t like it. So often this is what happens in this arena called “life” and circumstances which we have no control over bombard us from every direction on a daily basis.

Cars break down, layoffs happen at work, the children get sick, taxes go up, the dreaded in-laws call and say they’re coming for a summer visit. The list of things we have to deal with that are beyond our control is endless. There is, however, one thing in life that the Bible says we are to always have control of. Jesus said in Luke 21:19, “In your patience, possess your soul.”

Who we are and what we become in life is determined by us and us alone. We cannot control our neighbours or the boss at work but we are instructed to take control of the way we respond to the everyday circumstances of life. This, of course, is a lot easier said than done. To do this will take a lifetime of determination, endurance, and oftentimes intense struggle and hardship.

You see, our emotions are real. So often in the Christian camp we are told to ignore our feelings and live “in the realm of the spirit.” It is true, in the makeup of every believer our feelings and emotions can rightfully be called “the weakest link” but how can you ignore something that is so real and relevant in our lives? After all, Jesus Himself was a very emotional man. He wept, He got angry, at times He got very frustrated, and in the Garden of Gethsemane He struggled so fiercely with His emotions that His sweat became as drops of blood.

No, we cannot ignore our feelings and, in truth, we’re not supposed to. The Bible does not teach us to ignore our feelings but rather to control them. It was this same Jesus Who at times displayed His emotions so openly said, “In your patience, possess your soul.” Why did He say that? Because He knew that if you do not take control of your emotions, for sure they will take control of you.

How important is self-control? In Galatians 5:22-23, it is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit and John the apostle writes, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2:1). Financial success and physical health is in direct proportion to how well one takes control of wayward emotions.

In Acts 24 Paul had an audience with Felix the governor and verse 25 says “he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come.” A person becomes righteous in the sight of God when they get born-again and in the end when all is said and done, we must all stand before the throne of God where we will all be held accountable for what we’ve done with the life we’ve been given. Paul tells us that between conversion and the judgment to come, one’s life should be lived with the trademark of self-control and the diligence that goes with it.

The word “self-control” is a translation of the Greek word ‘egkrateia’. This word is derived from ‘kratos’ which means “strength and power”. The fruit of self-control brings with it the same strength and power that raised Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:19-20).

A believer must have so much control over his emotions that his feelings become his slave. Since a slave has no legal rights of his own and is bound by law to his master, all emotions that are brought into subjection must be obedient to its owner. Do not ask yourself how you feel, tell yourself how you feel. When you take control of your emotions you take control of your life.

According to Paul, the result of not having self-control is to become a “castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27) and in Greek this word is defined as “unapproved, rejected, worthless…” Because of a lack of self-control many believers have become worthless castaways and have dropped out of the race for the incorruptible crown. Clearly, living a life of self-control should be a top priority for every believer.

Let’s look again at what Jesus said and see the time frame for when the best opportunity is for us to take control of our feelings and emotions. He said, “In your patience, possess your soul.” Having patience indicates that you are standing in faith as you wait for some prayer request to be manifested.

Something in your life is not right. You are in a struggle and feelings of doubt and frustration are knocking on the door of your soul. You have feelings that are real and they’re causing you much pain. Your emotions are under constant attack as days go by and your struggle is still there and no relief seems in sight. You obey the Word to the best of your ability but still, the situation gets worse and worse. You are ready to pull every hair out of your head as you continually try to do something about that which you can do nothing about.

A feeling of helplessness swarms over you and at times you feel like a puppet on a string being controlled by some diabolical force. You cry out, “God, where are You?” and it takes every ounce of spiritual energy you’ve got just to keep from giving up. It is in times like this, when you are on the brink of what seems like a hopeless situation that God says to “possess your soul.” He does not say to do this when all is going well. No, we are told to take control of our emotions when they are most under attack.

Just how does one take possession of their soul? By following the example of Jesus, of course. He surrendered His will to the Heavenly Father and said in John 12:49, “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father Who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.”

Words are the most powerful force in the entire universe. What you say can make you or break you. Proverbs 21:23 says, “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” Do not give birth to negative feelings by speaking them out of your mouth. Heed the words of James 1:19b which tells us to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” Proverbs 17:27 says, “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”

It is a sure thing that the trial that plagues you the most will almost never go away until you get your emotions under control. Molehill problems turn into mountains when like a runaway train your emotions go unrestrained. Silence is the key to gaining self-control. After all, “Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips he is considered perceptive” (Proverbs 17:28).

*** Written by Randall J. Brewer ***

...building the body of Christ

You Don't Need God?

Text: Ruth 1:1-5; Isaiah 40:31; Proverbs 16:9, 19:16

Key Verse: There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12)

The times were tough. Famine dawned on the land and the people had very little to survive on. They were perturbed by their present circumstance and saw no rays of hope in sight, but hardly could they forget that “they that know their God shall be strong and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32).

The people of Bethlehemjudah waited on the Lord for succor but among them was one so unfortunate who took not counsel from the Lord and felt he didn’t need God to tell him what to do with his life. He chose the path that pleased him only that it led to his death and destruction.

The story of Elimelech often reminds me of man’s weakness, naivety and folly to think we can live our lives without God (Proverbs 19:3a). We feel we own our lives and can do whatever pleases us forgetting that “many are the plans in a man’s heart but it is the will and counsel of the Lord that shall prevail.”

Elimelech and his family chose the way of pride by leaving the tabernacle of the Lord in Bethlehemjudah to seek refuge in a foreign land of Moab where its people neither revered nor obeyed the commandments of God. This teaches a lesson that no matter how awful our predicaments in life may be, forsaking the Lord and choosing our own path will always turn out to be a grave mistake.

Our resolve to stick with God should be on the basis of “for better or worse”, “in good times and bad times”, till thy kingdom come and His will done on earth as it is in heaven. We must put God first in everything we do, trusting Him with all of our hearts and leaning not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

If only had Elimelech sought the face of the Lord before making the move to Moab, his death and that of his two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, would have been averted. Naomi, his wife and mother of his sons, wouldn’t have turned out a helpless widow.

I believe God wants us to learn and understand that decisions made without His acknowledgement doesn’t end well. He wants us to have at the back of our minds that without Him we can do nothing on our own.

We shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the gains of pride and get to the point we feel we do not need God in our lives (Proverbs 16:18a). Elimelech thought he had escaped the burdens of famine and delighted is soul with the fleeting abundance of an ungodly city as Moab. Sadly, he never for once thought of going back to where he came from.

Folly is what makes a man think he can find happiness and fulfillment on his own terms without God. But hear the words of wisdom: “Man’s going are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way? The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil (Proverbs 19:23; 20:24).”

When Naomi realized her mistakes with tears and sorrow in her heart (Ruth 1:19-22), she returned to the Lord and look what happened to her in the succeeding chapters of the book of Ruth. She found favour and grace from God. Even Ruth, her daughter in law wasn’t exempted from this favour because she decided to worship and service the living God of Israel (Ruth 1:14-18).

Haven’t you suffered enough to still think you do not need God in your life? Now is the acceptable time to return to the Lord. “Seek Him while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near…return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon you; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).

*** Written by Jacobs Adewale (Admin) ***

building the body of Christ