Message by: K. Nunn given June 6
To avoid confusion, let me explain that in the King James Bible temperance is used in the place of self-control (which is used in the NIV translation). Both come from the same Greek word that means: strong in a thing; masterful. The definition of temperance would include: “one who masters his desires and passions; especially sensual appetites”.
Galatians 5:23 states that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. In other words, if we are filled with God’s Spirit, then we should be developing and living with more self-control. We often focus on the other fruits of the Spirit such as: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, and faithfulness, but forget the importance of self-control.
“Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)
If we lack self-control, we are always opening doors of temptation that enable the enemy of our soul to catch us up in the sin cycle. Self-control covers every appetite including eating, drinking, sex, entertainment, and money. Every one of these in excess can lead to destruction. But it also covers your thought life and the words you speak. We must endeavor to “be Holy as He is Holy” and He has provided us with the ability.
“But if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 6:13-14 (NIV)
God has been gracious enough to us to give us His Spirit to dwell in us and help us to live holy. But……we must listen to the voice of the Spirit and obey God’s Word. It is not enough to just go to church regularly, you must develop the ability to hear God and obey. Too many of us are self-willed (Greek word “hedone” which is the root word for hedonistic, meaning living for pleasure; desire; lust.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV)
If you have ever competed in a sport, you understand the importance of commitment and discipline. We admire Olympic participants and champions, but probably don’t really know the work and sacrifice it takes. I had opportunity to watch my sons as they perfected their sport of wrestling. They practiced long hours, ran miles, restricted their diets, and stretched their bodies to the limit. As Christians we should be as committed. The church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:14) referred to as the end time church, is caught up in complacency and compromise.
We need to allow the Holy Spirit to search us and reveal where we may be lacking the self-control (by the Spirit) to live successful lives in a testimony for Christ.
Message by: A. Willis
“Keep silence before Me, O coastlands, and let the people renew [their] strength! Let them come near, then let them speak; Let us come near together for judgment.” Isaiah 41:1
Day after day we call ourselves setting aside time to pray, read the word, and worship the Lord. During this time we are often focused on what WE think we should pray about; singing the song WE are interested in, or even reading the word WE think is good. Within all this time we fail to realize that this so called “time for the Lord” is actually time doing what we want or fulfilling a religious routine.
Jesus desires a relationship. Time spent with the Lord should not be filled with us merely babbling the entire time. When does He have opportunity to speak? When is he able to tell you the desires of His heart, what’s hurting Him, or even how you are hurting him?
In Isaiah 41:1, God is speaking to Israel to come be silent, draw near to Him, speak with Him, and let Him judge. In this same way, we have to be self-controlled and put everything on silent; not only our voice but our mind as well. Then we have to come empty of ourselves, go into his presence, and speak with Him about everything troubling our hearts. Then the tricky part, we have to be SILENT. During this silent time we have to allow God to search us and reveal our true motives. This is often tough but God desires oneness. To be one with the Father we have to die to ourselves in order that Jesus may live fully within us.
Remember, spend time with the Father BUT allow Him to have time to speak with you.