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MomGirls
Nov. 6, 2014 at 8:46 AM

Treasures in Jars of Clay {2 corinthians 4:16-18}
16Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-17. For which cause — Because of which abounding grace that supports us; we faint not — Under any of our present pressures; but though our outward man — The body; perish — Be worn out and brought to dust prematurely, by our continual labours and sufferings; our inward man — The soul; is renewed day by day — After the divine nature and likeness, receiving fresh degrees of spiritual strength, purity, and consolation, in proportion as the body grows weaker, and we feel our dissolution approaching. And it is reasonable that this should be the case; for our light affliction Το παραυτικα ελαφρον της θλιψεως, momentary lightness, or light thing (as Macknight renders it) of our affliction; worketh, or rather worketh out, for us a far more exceeding weight of glory — That is, a weight of glory far exceeding the affliction, both in degree and duration: or, far greater than we could have received if we had not passed through the affliction. For the affliction, by correcting our faults, exercising and thereby increasing our graces, and purging us as gold and silver are purified in the furnace, increases our holiness and conformity to God, and thereby prepares us for a greater degree of future felicity than could otherwise have been assigned us; God also as certainly rewarding his people hereafter for their sufferings patiently endured, as for their labours diligently and cheerfully accomplished. “The Hebrew word,” as Macknight justly observes, “answering to glory, signifies both weight and glory. Here the apostle joins the two significations in one phrase; and describing the happiness of the righteous, calls it not glory simply, but a weight of glory, in opposition to the light thing of our affliction; and an eternal weight of glory, in opposition to the momentary duration of our affliction: and a more exceeding eternal weight of glory, as beyond comparison greater than all the dazzling glories of riches, fame, power, pleasure, or any thing which can be possessed in the present life. And after all it is a glory not yet to be revealed; it is not yet fully known.” But, as Blackwell (Sacred Classics, vol. 1. p. 332) well expresses it, “This is one of the most emphatic passages in all St. Paul’s writings, in which he speaks as much like an orator, as he does as an apostle. The lightness of the trial is expressed by το ελαφρον της θλιψεως, the lightness of our affliction, which is but for a moment; as if he had said, It is even levity itself in such a comparison. On the other hand, the καθυπερβολην εις υπερβολην, which we render far more exceeding, is infinitely emphatical, and cannot be fully expressed by any translation. It signifies that all hyperboles fall short of describing that weighty, eternal glory, so solid, so lasting, that you may pass from hyperbole to hyperbole, and yet when you have gained the last, you are infinitely below it.” Indeed, as another eminent writer observes, the beauty and sublimity of St. Paul’s expressions here, as descriptive of heavenly glory, opposed to temporal afflictions, surpass all imagination, and cannot be preserved in any translation or paraphrase, which after all must sink far, very far below the astonishing original.

 

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MomGirls
Nov. 6, 2014 at 8:51 AM

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MomGirls
Nov. 6, 2014 at 8:55 AM

The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

Self-Control

By Gary B. McGee

Fruit of the Spirit Series

Introduction

Love

Joy

Peace

Patience

Kindness

Goodness

Faithfulness

Gentleness

Self-Control

Self-control or “temperance” can be simply defined as the mastery of oneself, the capacity of individuals to so restrain their own emotions, desires, and impulses that they can serve others. The lack of such control in our culture, be it related to chemical abuse, overeating, or a host of other unhealthy behaviors, should concern every Christian, indeed every congregation of believers who wish to be a lighthouse of God’s grace to those who are “out of control.”

In looking at Galatians 5:22,23 it quickly becomes evident that by reserving the mention of self-control to last, the apostle Paul is deliberately emphasizing it as the capstone of all the graces of the Spirit. While the fruits reflect the maturing work of the Spirit in an individual’s life, they also become apparent in relationships with other people.

Obtaining Self-Control

To begin, let us examine what self-control is not. Consider the plight of a person in a television Western who has been shot. Lacking adequate medical care or even the presence of a doctor, a friend takes his knife to cut the bullet out of the person’s body. Knowing that this will be painful, he gives the victim a stick to hold between his teeth to help him keep from screaming and losing self-control. The image is one of grim determination and resolution to the fateful pain. Fortunately, this does not depict the concept of self-control Paul discusses.

The biblical understanding of the term requires crucifixion of the sinful or lower nature by divine grace as we surrender ourselves to the Lord. In Galatians 5:19–21, Paul contrasts the sanctified life with characteristics of the old life: “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness and orgies, and the like.“ All these categories reflect behaviors that are out of control and were common in New Testament times.

Living the overcoming Christian life was no small problem for many in the congregations to whom Paul wrote. Yielding to sinful passions was the order of the day. Believers who did not come from a Jewish background, where the precepts of the Old Testament were rigorously followed probably found the level of personal restraint required of a Christian especially difficult to sustain.

The self-control, however, which derives from the presence of the Spirit in our thoughts and emotions, is undergirded by the power of God as believers yield themselves to the Lord in obedience to His will. (Consider also Romans 12:2 where Paul refers to the transformation of the mind.) Several verses help us understand this better:

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Galatians 5:16).

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2;13).

“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9).

Self-control enables the believer to overcome sinful and destructive habits, focus on ministering to others, build up the body of Christ, and live in mutual submission to others (Ephesians 5:21), thereby leading a life that is positive and productive in the family, the neighborhood, the church, and place of employment. For example, Paul exhorted the Ephesian churches: “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need” (Ephesians 4:28).

To the Galatians he wrote: “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (5:13,14).

Help From The Body Of Christ

The Christian should not assume maintaining self-control to be a purely individual matter. It is vital to recognize that ministry within the body of Christ entails responsibility to help others. Notice the corporate emphasis in each of the following passages of Scripture:

“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently” (Galatians 6:1).

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10).

“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:15,16).

“I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel” (Philippians 4:2,3).

The gathering of early Christians in house churches offered ample opportunities for small groups of believers to encourage each other in their spiritual walk.

Christians today struggle as well to gain control of various aspects of their lives. Through members ministering to one another, however, the body of Christ builds itself up in love (Ephesians 4:16) as each person becomes more mature in character and behavior.

In practical ways (easy to implement), healing for emotional and mental ailments that cause people to lose control of their reactions to problems can occur in a variety of church contexts: Bible study and prayer groups, Sunday school classes, Wednesday night gatherings, and many more. A Sunday school class that encourages broad participation, provides opportunities for sharing, and offers prayer and counsel on threatening issues can become a valuable “support group” for hurting people. Spiritual and practical counsel offered in love can help a believer “maintain control” (respond maturely and properly) with the divine assistance of the Holy Spirit.

In the Sunday School class I attend, I observe that every Sunday, when requests are taken for prayer, several needs are always mentioned. In this way, we learn about the hurts of others and prayerfully ask for the Lord’s intervention. Through this rather simple means, we help one another overcome fears and discover anew the abiding grace of God. Bible study and discussion afford us insights into how believers should react to crisis situations or vexing daily problems. The camaraderie of a small group of Christians can greatly enhance the working of the Spirit in each life.

Conclusion

In this life, no one achieves all the fruit of the Spirit equally. Some speculate that Paul might have lost control of his temper when he had a “sharp disagreement” with Barnabas over whether to invite John Mark to join them for another missionary journey (Acts 15:36–41). In regard to gaining perfection in this life, he wrote to the Philippian believers, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philippians 3:12).

The Spirit of Christ who works in our hearts to help us live above sinful practices, as well as the offering of loving counsel by Christian brothers and sisters, enables the fruit of self-control to grow for the glory of God. As a result, we can model God’s values, demonstrate in our behaviors His power to aid us daily, and more effectively share His love for others.

Little wonder that human relationships become the battleground for demonstrating the level of Christian graces and self-control. After all, Jesus himself said: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another” (John 13:35).

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MomGirls
Nov. 6, 2014 at 8:58 AM

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MomGirls
Nov. 6, 2014 at 9:05 AM

The Six Secrets of Self-Control

Self-Control Secret #1 – Meditate

Meditation actually trains your brain to become a self-control machine (and it improves your emotional intelligence). Even simple techniques like mindfulness, which involves taking as little as five minutes a day to focus on nothing more than your breathing and your senses, improves your self-awareness and your brain’s ability to resist destructive impulses. Buddhist monks appear calm and in control for a reason.

Self-Control Secret #2 – Eat

File this one in the counter intuitive category, especially if you’re having trouble controlling your eating. Your brain burns heavily into your stores of glucose when attempting to exert self-control. If your blood sugar is low, you are far more likely to succumb to destructive impulses. Sugary foods spike your sugar levels quickly and leave you drained and vulnerable shortly thereafter. Eating something that provides a slow burn for your body, such as whole grain rice or meat, will give you a longer window of self-control. So, if you’re having trouble keeping yourself out of the company candy bin when you’re hungry, make sure you eat something else if you want to have a fighting chance.

Self-Control Secret #3 – Exercise

Getting your body moving for as little as 10 minutes releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of your impulses. If you’re having trouble resisting the impulse to walk over to the office next door to let somebody have it, just keep on walking. You should have the impulse under control by the time you get back.

Self-Control Secret #4 – Sleep

When you are tired, your brain cells’ ability to absorb glucose is highly diminished. As I explained in Secret #1, your brain’s ability to control impulses is nil without glucose. What’s worse, without enough sleep you are more likely to crave sugary snacks to compensate for low glucose levels. So, if you’re trying to exert self-control over your eating, getting a good night’s sleep—every night—is one of the best moves you can make.

Self-Control Secret #5 – Ride the Wave

Desire has a strong tendency to ebb and flow like the tide. When the impulse you need to control is strong, waiting out this wave of desire is usually enough to keep yourself in control. The rule of thumb here is to wait at least 10 minutes before succumbing to temptation. You’ll often find that the great wave of desire is now little more than a ripple that you have the power to step right over.

Self-Control Secret #6 – Forgive Yourself

A vicious cycle of failing to control oneself followed by feeling intense self-hatred and disgust is common in attempts at self-control. These emotions typically lead to over-indulging in the offending behavior. When you slip up, it is critical that you forgive yourself and move on. Don’t ignore how the mistake makes you feel; just don’t wallow in it. Instead, shift your attention to what you’re going to do to improve yourself in the future.

Putting These Strategies to Work

The important thing to remember is you have to give these strategies the opportunity to work. This means recognizing the moments where you are struggling with self-control and, rather than giving in to impulse, taking a look at the Six Secrets and giving them a go before you give in. It takes time to increase your emotional intelligence, but the new habits you form with effort can last a lifetime.

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MomGirls
Nov. 6, 2014 at 9:08 AM

CULTIVATING THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

A. GENERAL PRINCIPLES.

1. Fruit must be cultivated

In the natural, we cannot produce fruit. We cannot cause an oak tree to bear apples. We cannot cause an apple tree to bear apples until it has reached the state of maturity at which it is ready to bear. But we must cultivate the fruit. Trees and vines left to themselves will bear poorly, if at all. Orchardists and vineyardists have to work hard in order to get a good crop.

A similar process is true in the spiritual. In this, as in so much of our Christian life, we are "God's fellow-workers" (1 Corinthians 3:9). Jesus gave the image that we and he are like two oxen yoked together (Matthew 11:29). Paul, in a somewhat different context, expressed the principle that applies here as well: "Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purposes" (Philippians 2:12). We work, and God works in us.

Scripture illustrates this aspect of laboring to produce fruit. In Isaiah's parable of the vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7), God "dug it up and cleared it of stones", he planted it with the choicest vines, he built a watchtower, and then he looked for it to bear good fruit. See also Jesus' parable of the tenants (Matthew 21:33). In John 15:2 Jesus spoke of God pruning the fruitful branches so that they would bear more fruit. In Luke 8:15 Jesus said that it is "by persevering" that we produce a good crop. In 2 Peter 1:5 we are told to "make every effort" to add certain qualities to our faith so that we will not be unfruitful. Paul told Timothy to "pursue" righteousness, faith, love and peace (2 Timothy 2:22). All of these are applications of the principle of 1 Timothy 4:7 (KJV) that we "exercise" ourselves unto godliness.

The natural process of cultivation may include these steps, each of which has, I think, a parallel in the spiritual realm:

Soil Preparation - clearing, digging, tilling, cultivation, adding humus and other material to improve texture so that the soil will absorb and hold moisture and the roots can grow freely.

Nourishment - fertilizing, watering

Pruning - cutting away unnecessary wood to encourage more fruit

Protection - spraying to protect from disease and insects. Physical protection from birds, or from frost.

Let us look at each of these in spiritual terms:

          a. Soil Preparation. Jesus gave a parable of a sower who sowed seed on four different kinds of soil. Only one kind yielded a rich crop. The parable relates primarily to salvation, but it is applicable to much else in our spiritual life. We need to be good soil, ready to receive and hold on to all that God gives us. This includes being teachable, being open to receive admonitions and criticism (not taking offense), freeing ourselves of mindsets and preconceptions that keep us from hearing, etc. It includes being ready to receive trials and hardships in a Scriptural way.

          b. Nourishment. If we are to bear fruit, we need to be nourished by our relationship with God. If we are to become like God in character, we need to feed ourselves daily on God's word. "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). We need to spend time in praise and prayer. We need to think about the things that build us up in Christ (Philippians 4:8-9). We need to set our hearts and minds "on things above, not on earthly things" (Colossians 3:1-3). These are all ways in which we can become "transformed by the renewing of your minds" (Romans 12:2). What we allow into our minds is very important. What are we feeding on? Things which build us up in Christ? Or things which conform us to this world?

          c. Pruning. Jesus wrote, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful" (John 15:2). Sometimes this pruning can be quite drastic. Jesus said that if your hand or foot cause you to sin you should cut it off, and if your eye causes you to sin you should pluck it out (Mark 9:42-48).

In the spiritual sense pruning serves two functions: (1) to get rid of unnecessary baggage, things which, although not harmful in themselves, distract and take energy away from the primary task, and (2) to get rid of things which are harmful and can cause damage. Both functions are expressed in Hebrews 12:1: "Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles". If we are to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us" we don't want to be carrying any unnecessary weight or anything that will create resistance, nor do we want to carry anything that could trip us up.

The process of being transformed involves getting rid of the old. Romans 12:2 says, "do not be conformed to this world". The world's ways and Christ's ways are often very different. The world says, "If someone injures me I need to get back at him." Christ says, "Let me take care of the vengeance; you need to forgive and get on with your life." The world says, "I'll get rich by holding on to what I have" Christ says, "Give and it shall be given to you." Etc. We need to get rid of the world's ways in order to be able to take on Christ's ways.

Paul tells us to "Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires,... and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24). In order to put on the new self we have to put off the old self. In order for the new creation to come, the old has to go (2 Corinthians 5:17). This can be a difficult and painful process. Paul says, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). He says the our "old self was crucified with him" (Romans 6:6); "we were buried with him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life" (Romans 6: 4). "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature" (Colossians 3:5), "put to death the misdeeds of the body" (Romans 8:13). We need to "demolish strongholds" and "every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God" and "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

More can be said about this pruning process, but I think this is enough to show how necessary it is and how drastic it can be.

          d. Protection. I have pointed out that living by the spirit involves spiritual warfare. Hence developing the fruit of the spirit may involve protection from assaults of the enemy. This can include the following:

Pulling down strongholds of various kinds that the enemy uses for shelter and to block progress

Taking thoughts captive to obey Jesus Christ

Praying for protection, by yourself and by others

Taking a stand against the enemy

Making sure not to give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27).

2. God's process of cultivation

God uses a process for developing those qualities he desires in us. In order that we may learn love, he may bring into our lives people who are hard to love. In order to develop faith, he may place us in situations which in the natural seem hopeless, so that we have to depend on God. In order to develop patience he may put us in situations which test our patience. In order to develop self-control in us, he may allow us to be tempted.

This process is illustrated by Hebrews 12:7-12, "Endure hardship as a discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons... God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees."

This process can be seen as part of the way in which we "run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (Hebrews 12:1) and "make every effort... to be holy" (Hebrews 12:14). There is a co-laboring. God disciplines us, but we must persevere, make every effort and strengthen ourselves.

3. We must choose to show good fruit

In Galatians 5 Paul contrasts the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of the flesh and commands us to "live by the Spirit" (v. 16). It is clear that this is a choice, like the choice he gives us in Romans 6:13 whether we shall offer the parts of our body as weapons of wickedness or of righteousness. It is basically the same choice as that of Deuteronomy 30:19, "I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses, Now choose life".

Paul told Timothy, "Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace" (2 Timothy 2:22). We decide where to run, what to flee, and what to pursue.

Many of the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit are commands. Love, joy, self-control, faith and patience are examples. We are also specifically commanded to refrain from the acts of the flesh, which are the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit. Bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit is not an option, but a command.

This means that we cannot just sit back and wait for the fruit of the Spirit to develop. God develops the fruit but we must also do our part. We must pray for good fruit. In obedience to God's commands, we need to make specific decisions that we will love, will have joy, will have peace, etc., and then do everything we can to carry out those decisions. We must repent when we find ourselves falling short in any of these areas. We must take our thoughts captive to obey Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). We must hide the word of God in our hearts so that we will not disobey him (see Psalm 119:11).

4. The fruit is evidence of the Lordship of the Holy Spirit

The fruit of the Spirit is the outward evidence of the power of the Spirit working within us. Just as our deeds are the evidence of our faith (James 2:17), so the fruit of the Spirit is the evidence of a Spirit-led life. To attempt to produce the fruit of the Spirit without allowing the Holy Spirit to control our lives would be like tying artificial apples onto a tree. Our emphasis should be to "live by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16).

B. SPECIFIC ACTIONS WE CAN TAKE

          1. Decide. Galatians 5:16 calls on us to make a decision to live by the Spirit. We must decide to love, to be joyful, to be at peace, to have faith, to be patient, to have self-control, etc. We make these decisions daily, minute-by-minute. Whatever may come up, we must decide at the moment whether to respond to it after the flesh or in a godly manner.

Winston Churchill has said, "Character is the habit of making right decisions." If we would have godly character, we must cultivate the habit of making right decisions.

          2. Pray. James 1:5-8 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously without finding fault, and it will be given him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." The same principle applies to each of the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit. If we lack love, pray that God will give us love. Do the same with joy, peace, and all the other aspects. Pray without doubting. Pray expectantly. Pray persistently; "always pray and not give up" (Luke 18:1).

James 5:16 KJV says, "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." We must want to be Spirit-led; we must want to show the fruit of the Spirit. Jeremiah 29:13 says. "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with your whole heart". We must seek the fruit of the Spirit fervently, with our whole heart.

          3. Keep short accounts with God and others. God wants us to keep short accounts with him. When we find ourselves reacting to something in a fleshly way rather than a Spirit-led way (as we all do from time to time), let us go to God right away. Confess, repent, and ask for His strength to enable us to handle such situations better next time.

We also need to keep short accounts with other people. Jesus has told us, if "your brother has something against you... go and be reconciled to your brother" (Matthew 5:23-24). Go quickly; put this even ahead of worshiping. And, "if your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you" (Matthew 18:15). Whoever you think is at fault, act quickly to resolve the difference, if you can. Don't let anger and resentment build up. Don't take offence. Don't let any root of bitterness arise by which many are defiled (Hebrews 12:15). Keep short accounts.

          4. Make the most of every opportunity. Ephesians 5:15 says, "Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." It is good to make the most of every opportunity to show love, kindness, gentleness, patience, etc., to others, and to build others up. This is one of the ways in which we can train ourselves to be godly (1 Timothy 4:7).

          5. Become mature. In the natural, fruit does not come until the tree, vine or other plant has reached a certain level of maturity. So in the spiritual, our fruit should increase as we become mature, as we "in all things grow up into him who is the head" (Ephesians 4:15). All the training and experience that we have received in growing into Christian maturity will help us to produce the fruit of the Spirit.

          6. Do battle with the enemy. God wants us to live by the Spirit and show the fruit of the Spirit. The enemy wants to keep us under the control of the flesh. He wants to rob us of our love, our joy, our peace, our patience, our kindness, our goodness, our faithfulness, our gentleness and our self-control. There is a war going on inside us between the Holy Spirit and the flesh; the enemy wants the flesh to win. God has given us weapons that have divine power to tear down the enemy's strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4-5), but we must use them, just as an orchardist must use the sprays that protect his trees from insects and disease. If we see the issue as one of spiritual warfare, we can determine to give the enemy no ground, and to yield nothing to him. We will also see that the stakes are very high; the issue is nothing less than who will effectively control our soul: the Holy Spirit, satan, or our fleshly desires. When seen in those terms, no decision, no conflict, is a minor one. The Holy Spirit wants to have complete control and we need to surrender ourselves to him completely.

          7. Sow into the Spirit. Galatians 6:7-8 gives an important key, which underlies many of the above suggestions. "Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."

How do we sow to please the Spirit? Many of the foregoing suggestions offer ways of doing so. But beyond that we need to spend time with the Lord. Because of what Jesus has done for us we can "come boldly unto the throne of grace" (Hebrews 4:16 KJV). We need to pray, praise, worship, read Scripture, meditate on Scripture, do whatever else brings us into the presence of God. In his presence we find fullness of joy. It is by being in his presence that we can be changed into his likeness from glory to glory. When we are in his presence, something of him rubs off on us; the more time we spend in his presence the more of his nature will rub off on us.

The goal of the Spirit-led life is to become like God in character. In order to do that we need to spend time in God's presence so that we can come to know what God is like. Unless we do that, none of our other efforts at developing the fruit of the Spirit will have much success.

          8. Have a right relationship with God. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).The fruit of the Spirit is the result of, and the evidence of, a right relationship with God. To go back to our physical analogy, the soil, the water, the nutrients that produce good fruit are all found in our relationship with God. The most essential element in cultivating the fruit of the Spirit is to establish, maintain and develop our relationship with the God in whom "we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).

 

VI. CONCLUSION.

God "works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will" (Ephesians 1:11). God's purpose for us is that we shall become like him in character. His purpose is that we shall live by the Spirit and shall evidence the fruit of the Spirit.

God has given us the means to carry out that purpose. He has assured us that it can be carried out. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 says, "May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it." Jude 24 tells us that God "is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his presence without fault and with great joy." God is able.

God works out everything in accordance with his purpose. He has given us freedom of choice, and we can, if we choose, defeat his purpose for us by refusing to cooperate. But if our desire is truly to carry out his purpose for us, and to live by the Spirit, he will enable us to do it.

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MomGirls
Nov. 6, 2014 at 9:14 AM

People with self-control master their moods. They do not let their moods master them. Most of what gets done in the world is accomplished by people who do the right thing even when they don't feel like it: "A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls." (Proverbs 25:28, NLT)

People with self-control watch their words. They put their minds in gear before opening their mouths: "Be careful what you say and protect your life. A careless talker destroys himself." (Proverbs 13:3, TEV)

People with self-control restrain their reactions. How much can you take before you lose your cool? "If you are sensible, you will control your temper. When someone wrongs you, it is a great virtue to ignore it." (Proverbs 19:11, TEV)

People with self-control stick to their schedule. If you don't determine how you will spend your time, then others will decide for you: "Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV)

People with self-control manage their money. They learn to live on less than what they make and they invest the difference. The value of a budget is that it tells your money where you want it to go rather than wondering where it went! "In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has." (Proverbs 21:20, NIV)

People with self-control maintain their health. That way they can accomplish more and enjoy their achievements: "Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body ...." (1 Thessalonians 4:4, MSG)

In what areas do you need to develop for self-control? The disciplines you establish today will determine your success tomorrow.

But it takes more than just willpower for lasting self-control. It takes a power greater than yourself: "For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:7, TEV)

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The Lord's Table - A Free Course

About This Page

Setting Captives Free provides FREE online courses to help overcome habitual sin. You're previewing the The Lord's Table course, one of our Food Issues courses. Setting Captives Free provides FREE online courses to help overcome habitual sin..

IMPORTANT NOTE: This version is for previewing the lesson only. Do not submit your answers from this page, but register in our site, enroll in the course and then go to the lesson page to submit answers.

Day 1 - Part 1

Hello Friend, welcome to The Lord's Table, Phase I. The Lord’s Table program is organized into three courses:

  1. Phase I (which you’re reading now): 60 lessons to help you gain control of your eating habits while learning to look to God for spiritual sustenance

  2. Phase II: 20 lessons of interactive Bible study and fasting

  3. TLT Mentorship Course: 123 lessons, containing ongoing Biblical principles, for those who want to apply to join the online mentor team.

Each lesson consists of biblical instruction, testimonies, and comments from other course members. All three phases will be helpful in your pursuit of victory over bad eating habits.

What should you expect from this course? One woman who graduated from this course wrote about her expectations and experience:

When I joined, I had no hope of ever losing weight or having victory over this sin of gluttony. I really even wondered how it could work. But as I began, my heart was softened to hear God through the lessons, and I have been amazed. May you be blessed in your ministry... and what a wonderful ministry it is! — Kathy

We hope this course will be a blessing to you, too—not only in helping you gain control of bad eating habits that have been established in your life over many years, but also in helping you learn how to truly enjoy the Lord and "feed" on Him.

Let's begin with an overview of how this course works. Each day, you will visit the Lord’s Table website and click on login button. After logging in, follow these steps:

  1. Pray before beginning the day’s lesson to ask God’s blessing on what you read and learn.

  2. Read through the day’s lesson, answering the study questions as you go. Once you submit your answers, you will receive an automated response from Setting Captives Free via email.

  3. You will hear from your mentor via email at least once each week. Your mentor is someone who, by God's grace, has gained victory over bad eating habits and is volunteering his/her time ...

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