Be ... Self Controlled

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23 August, 2021

Be Self-Controlled

‘The end of all things is near. You must be self-controlled and alert, to be able to pray.’                            1 Peter 4:7

Today’s focus is self control.

Peter is writing to the Christians who were suffering for Jesus’ sake and is offering a perspective which is both encouraging and a warning: It’s almost over.

The Messiah has come, lived, died, been resurrected and ascended back to His Father where He reigns. True, by God’s grace, it has been 2,000+ years since these words, but the day continues to draw ever nearer.

So what is our right response to this awareness? Panic? Isolation? Indulgence in pleasure-seeking? Peter’s answer is that the most rational response is to pray. And, that prayer requires strong and clear minds. To do this we must be ‘self-controlled’ or alert, or exercising sound judgement about our choices. ‘Sober mind’ is the term that is also used, meaning to be temperate, have an outlook that reflects true balance, serious.

The whole word-family comes from two words in the Greek, sōos ("safe") and phrēn ("what regulates life,") which in English gives us the term ‘diaphram’.

Here’s an example: An opera singer controls the length (quality) of their tones by their diaphragm, which even controls our ability to breathe and moderates heartbeat. This regulates (‘brings safety’) to the body, keeping it properly controlled.

This self control is both the gift of God and the result of the believer making conscious decisions to cultivate this way of life. Self control is listed with fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:23). This is a reminder that to get this fruit you need to be a gardener, exerting persevering effort and practice over time to yield a harvest. Even this, however, is a Spirit-empowered effort enabled by God’s grace.

Peter writes, that we must be self-controlled or alert, or exercising sound judgement about our choices, in other words we should be careful about how we live. Our choices impact our ability to think clearly. It is better to be self-controlled so that we can pray.

How necessary is prayer for Christians? It is crucial. How concerned are we about keeping our minds nimble and focused for the purpose of praying? That’s perhaps a harder question. What, if anything, is keeping us from thinking clearly and praying faithfully?

Loving Father, I come to You to ask for You to give me clear thinking. Help me to separate the truth of what You are calling me to do from the lies of the enemy. Do not allow the enemy to cloud my thinking. Help me to stay close to You and to easily recognise Your voice. Cast all negative thinking from me, as I know it is not from You. Help me to practice self control so that I can examine my thinking often and be focussed on You and Your ways, not mine. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.


More From 'Devotionals'

Be ... Born Again

Thoughtful Word “Be Born Again”

John 3:7 NIV ‘You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again”.’

These are words from Jesus. They are taken out of a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee—so had a very strict understanding and observance of the religious ceremonies and practices. But he had some questions and asked Jesus for clarity.

However Nicodemus was not exactly thrilled with the response that Jesus gave him, and left him asking more questions.

It is here that Jesus’ explains that no one, (not even learned, smart, law abiding people) can enter into the Kingdom of God, unless they are born again.

So what does ‘be born again’ mean? In short, because of our sin, that is all that stuff that separates us from a holy and pure God, we are spiritually dead. But that is not where the news ends. Jesus paid the way for us to get back to God, clearing our debt of sin, with His own life. This is only possible when we acknowledge our sin, and accept Jesus as our Saviour. Then through no action of our own, we are given new life, being born again. This new birth gives us eternal life! All because God loves us so much and Jesus sacrificed Himself to pay the price.

So it is clear that there are two groups of people in this world….those that are born again and those that are not, so still spiritually dead.

Which group are you in?

If you can say with assurance that you follow Jesus and have been born again and received His Holy Spirit—we rejoice with you!

If you are yet to make that decision, what is stopping you? If you would like to talk to someone, a pastor, pastoral carer or another believer, we would really encourage you to do that today.

For those who are born again...

Do you live a life that is honouring of that gift of life? Are you sharing that gift at every opportunity that you are given?

Perhaps you did give your life some years ago, but you know deep in your heart, there are some things you are holding back. Perhaps you have wandered and distanced yourself from God, or are you just ‘being good/religious’. Please don’t be discouraged. God loves you so much He is still waiting with open arms with more grace and mercy than you would ever need. Today is the day. Repent, tell Jesus all about it, and become a new creation in Christ today.

John 1:12-13 NIV “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”


Be ... Witnesses

Thoughtful Word for this week “Be Witnesses”

Acts 22:15 NIV "You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard."

This verse is amid the account of Saul becoming Paul. Saul was an avid Jew, he was taught by a Rabbi, was thoroughly instructed in religious traditions and was passionate about God. However he was ready to kill anyone on this ‘new program’ - those who were following Jesus. He keenly had them arrested.

Then he had an encounter with Jesus and everything changed.

Those of us who have had a life changing encounter with Jesus, may not have had an extreme interaction like Paul, but it is still just as significant and life changing.

For us to bear witness we simply need to reflect on Jesus. Doesn’t He make your heart warm when you do that!

The thought of witnessing can be a little overwhelming, however you are probably doing it already. Really? Yep!

Whenever you have a conversation about how much you enjoyed church this week, or what you learned from the message, is witnessing.

Whenever you speak about how God has answered prayer or given you peace about a situation or challenge you are facing, that is witnessing. When you speak to how you cope because you are able to trust in a faithful God, is witnessing.

However, we do need to be intentional with our witnessing as well. Here a few tips to reflect on:

· Remember that feeling when you first discovered Jesus and accepted Him as your Lord and Saviour? Use that to motivate and stir you on.

· Is there someone that God has placed on your heart and mind to share Him with? Then make arrangements to meet up with them regularly and build on your connection with a warm smile, eye contact and gentle conversation.

· Observe and listen. Ask Holy Spirit to prompt you with discerning questions and the cue when to speak and when to listen.

· Understand that often people are needing to feel cared for before they will open up.

· Be flexible, we are all unique and respond in different ways. Good news is God understands people perfectly and can work in spite of us. So relax and go with the flow.

· The most important part is prayer. Pray God will direct you, put people and opportunities in your path, guide your conversations and give you the wisdom and discernment to respond as He would lead you.

In short witnessing starts with conversation and care. Let’s give it another go!


Loving Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me so much you sent Your Son to save me. Lord, develop my faith, deepen my understanding and help me to build relationships so that I may witness to others just how good You are, In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


Be ... Doers

Be doers”

James 1:22NIV

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

This week continues in our Be series, and follows Be Holy. The evidence of being holy is seen in our Christian living. It is not enough that we read the Bible, and know what it says, we actually have to live it out—be doers. What’s more is that we will find that we are further blessed in our doing.

When we actively seek God’s Will and follow His ways and do what He would have us do, we are blessed. This is basically because God is all knowing, and all love. He is our Heavenly Father– His heart’s desire is for us to be with Him, which is the best option for us. He really does want what is the best for us. Is that always what we like or want, no. But as His children He loves us so much, He will discipline, train and teach us. Sometimes they are hard lessons to learn. As a result blessings beyond our imagination.

Colossians 3:23 instructs us that whatever we do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

We in our weakness can easily fall into the trap of doing things to just be ‘seen’ to being good. Do we work just as hard when the boss is not watching as when they are?

The book of James is a very practical book. He regularly speaks about practical action in the life of faith; encouraging God’s people to really live like people of God.

So lets reflect for a moment...ask ourselves some questions:

Do my actions, reflect what I believe?

Are my words seasoned with grace, love and encouragement?

Do I do things begrudgingly because I feel I have to?

When I am stressed, challenged, overwhelmed do I seek God or simply complain?

When I see people hurting, how do I respond?

Do I serve for the honour and glory of me or God?

Do I treat others as I would have them treat me?

Do I live out my faith at home as well or just when I leave my front door?

This week allow Holy Spirit move, grow and challenge any areas that you need to work on. Seek the Lord’s help with living a life that is seeking to be worthy of being a Christ follower.


Loving Heavenly Father, thank You for guiding us and loving us so much that You only desire good for us. Lord I am sorry for the many times I fall short and don’t do what or how I should. Please forgive me. Thank You for Your grace and mercy. Continue to teach me I ask, so that all I do is done in the name of Jesus. Thank You for Jesus’ perfect example. May my actions today bring You all the Honour and Glory in Jesus name I pray, Amen.