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.

 

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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.”

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· 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!

Prayer:

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.

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Do my actions, reflect what I believe?

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

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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.

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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.

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