Do we love God and ourselves enough to change?

I recently read a story about an elderly preacher who was invited each week to speak at a school in Africa and he made a tremendous impact on the children. In every lesson, he would begin and conclude by leading them into confessing the phrases, self-control, self-discipline, and sound mind. One of the young students in these classes is now a man who remembers how they recited these words so much they became a part of their vocabulary. When the children would see him walking down the streets, they would shout, “self-control, self-disciple, and sound mind” and he would shout them back. He explains at the time he didn’t understand the weight and the sense of commitment these words carried, but over the years he developed a deeper wisdom about these principles that everyone can possess to fulfill the mandate that God has given them here on earth.

I embrace the power of positive confessions and believe it’s beneficial to speak God’s promises over our lives and those we love. It’s directly associated with faith in what He says and helps bring us to a place of maturity where we know He is listening. According to His perfect will, He can create the fruit of our lips and wants to demonstrate His truth. There is a carnal idea that we can name and claim whatever we want which is based more on our will than His. True spiritual confessions repeat and confirm what God has told us as we come into agreement with a revelation of His spiritual authority and victory that Christ wants us to walk in. As with every purpose, we realize that God wants to share His thoughts and agenda with us so that we can know what He is doing and how He wants to use us. These positive and powerful battle cries are critical to the faith and encouragement of every devoted warrior of Jesus as they fervently fight on the front lines for His glory.

Without self-control, we are as James describes like a wave on the sea tossed here and there as it’s declared that a double-minded person is unstable and cannot receive anything from the Lord. Let us train our minds and develop an awareness of God’s presence to stay focused on our mission. We cannot walk in the Spirit of God and continue to serve our carnal nature, as Matthew chapter 6 clearly explains that we cannot serve two masters at once. Either we will hate the one and love the other. Without self-discipline to learn divine wisdom and resist temptation, we will remain defeated by the many snare traps that are set for us every day. Without a sound mind, we become an easy target of the enemy to become infected with doubting and compromising that causes us to be unstable in our spiritual convictions.

When we look closely at our relationship with Christ and the gift of salvation, we do not see within God’s word where we automatically live as an overcomer for Him. On the contrary, while everything is provided, the gifts, armor, sound mind, wisdom, faith, love, discernment, holiness, joy, passion, and all the other tools and weapons of our warfare, do not just fall out of the air. They must become a relentless vision that we pursue and intentionally incorporate within our minds. When anyone is successful in anything, we learn that achievement does not happen with a half-hearted effort. They decided that nothing (including pain) would prevent them from being driven to succeed. Can we compare this level of intensity to being possessed to please God? Yes.

One definition of self-control is, “The ability to manage one’s impulses, emotions, and behaviors to accomplish long-term goals especially when facing resistance and discouragement.” Until we comprehend what it will take to become the best version of ourselves for God, we will find ourselves rendered powerless to the desires of our fleshly feelings and carnal nature. The question is do we love God and ourselves enough to change? Overcoming in this life is about resisting the internal and external influences that are battling us for control. Since Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, it’s given to empower us to like Christ as we strive to fulfill the Father’s plans. If we sincerely want to change how we live, we must change our habits, and the only person that has the power to replace bad habits with good ones is ourselves.

 

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