Elevate 28 - A 28 Day Challenge to Intentionally Engage with God's Word
"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power
and love and self-control."
2 Timothy 1:7
Written by Lysa Terkeurst
"Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control."
Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)
Have you ever been in a discussion with a loved one and suddenly your blood pressure skyrockets, your nerves fray, and the worst version of you begs to come out?
Not that this ehhhhhver happens to me of course.
Of course it happens to me. I live with other humans. But what I'm trying to better understand is this whole concept of self-control. So many times in the Bible we are told to display self-control: Proverbs 25:28, Galatians 5:23, 1 Peter 4:7, and many others.
But it's hard to display self-control when it feels like someone else does things out of our control and yanks our emotions into a bad place. So, here's one little tidbit I'm learning. When someone else's actions or statements threaten to pull me into a bad place, I have a choice. I do. It may feel like I don't have a choice. It may feel like I have to react according to my feelings, but I don't. I have a choice.
My choice is whether or not to give them the power to control my emotions.
When I react by yelling or flying off the handle or making a snappy comment back, I basically transfer my power to that other person. When I'm void of power, I'm void of self-control. So, it seems to me if I'm going to remain self-controlled, I have to keep my power.
Now, when I say "my power," I don't mean something I conjure up myself. I am referring to God's power working in me. When I react according to God's Word, I feel that power. When I react contrary to God's Word, I feel powerless.
Isaiah 55:10-11 is such a good reminder of how we can tap into God's power no matter what situation we are facing:
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (emphasis mine)
Did you catch that? The answer to keeping God's power with me and working in me to produce self-control is letting His Word get inside me. His Word seeping into my mind and my heart will accomplish things - good things - powerful things - things that help me display self-control.
So, here's my new tactic. When I'm facing a situation where someone is getting on the last good nerve I have, I'm going to start quoting God's Word in the present tense. Take 1 Peter 5:6-8 for example. Here's how I plan to use these verses if one of my sweet children starts acting NOT SO SWEET:
In this moment I'm choosing to be self-controlled and alert. Your actions are begging me to yell and lose control. But, I realize I have an enemy and that enemy is not you. The devil is prowling and roaring and looking to devour me through my own lack of control right now. But, I am God's girl. That's right. I am. So, I am going to humbly and quietly let God have His way in me right now. And when I do this, God will lift me and my frayed nerves up from this situation and fill me with a much better reaction than what I can give you right now. So, give me just a few minutes and then we'll calmly talk about this.
Girl, that's some power right there.
And that will make you shine with so much self-control your kids, friends, spouse and co-workers won't know what to do with you.
That statement was just taken from one little set of verses found in 1 Peter. Can you imagine what might happen if we wrote out powerful responses using God's Word on 3x5 cards and pulled them out every time we found ourselves in a situation?
I love being God's girl. Don't you?
I am reminded after reading this devotion that I am Your child.
You made me. You know me. And therefore, You designed my heart,
mind and soul to receive and respond to the power in your Word. When I
lack my own power to be self-controlled help me to turn
to Your truth for good, calm responses.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Lysa TerKeurst is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the New York Times best-selling author of Uninvited, The Best Yes, Unglued, Made to Crave, and 16 other books. As president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa and her team have led thousands to make their walk with God an invigorating journey through daily online devotionals, radio programs, online Bible studies, speaker/writing training, and more. Learn more at www.lysaterkeurst.com
REFLECT & RESPOND
1. Explore how your feelings can control you – what you do and say and think.
2. Ask yourself if your feelings create a reaction in you that comes out as hurtful to others or hurtful to yourself.
3. Ask yourself if you are letting your feelings control you.
1. Seek scripture in the Bible that teaches about self-control.
2. Write the scriptures on little notes and have your children decorate them with drawings.
3. Post them around your home to remind everyone who sees them of God's perfect wisdom.
4. With your family or a trusted friend, have a discussion about how your feelings control you sometimes. Then share your thoughts about how you believe people can have more self-control using God's word to guide thinking and action.
Remember, self-control is a gift we all possess.
God gives us this gift. He empowers us to use it. He expects us to use it.
This activity was provided by the Teacher Love Project - a Why Not Charleston community education initiative created by educators for educators. The Teacher Love Project aims to provide love and encouragement to teachers that will elevate their wellness and care and therefore, enhance student achievement. We must care for those who care for our children - we must love each other because God loved us first.
Learn more at www.teacherloveproject.com
"We love because He first loved us."
1 John 4:19
By James Taiwo
Please teach me how to apply moderation to everything I do. Do not let me be carried away with worldly activities, but let me be disciplined and have self-control. Let me be efficient in serving you at all times so that you can be happy with me.
For in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.
Please do not let me play with sin. Let me live holy and acceptable life before you so that I can qualify for your blessings. Please guide me to operate under the leadership of your Holy Spirit so that I can enjoy your goodness throughout the days of my life.
For in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.
Please give me your grace to adequately utilize my tongue. Let my words be seasoned with grace and bless other people. Also, let my speech motivate people to move closer to you.
In Jesus Name, I Pray.
James Taiwo is a preacher, an engineer, an author, and a musician. He is based in New York City and he is the president of World Outreach Evangelical Ministry, Inc. James Taiwo is also the publisher of Trumpet Media ministries. He is a prolific writer and a blogger. He indulges himself in writing books and articles. He is also a saxophone recording artist that specializes in contemporary gospel jazz. James Taiwo has always had a knack for writing and has written over one thousand free articles online, and still counting. His writing has inspired many to take the road of spirituality to attain the overall well being. Learn more at www.jamestaiwo.com
THRU THE LENS
A blog by regular men and women about finding themselves in God's word
"Making Decisions Based on God's Word : Self-Control"
By Ashley Russell
In the English dictionary, Self-control is defined as the ability to exercise restraint or control. Self-control is hard and no one likes to deny themselves of anything. Do you struggle with over eating, staying pure in your marriage, cheating on a test, or tempted to watch a movie or tv show that is inappropriate? Our desires tempt us everyday so how do we overcome a weakness and begin to practice self-control?
I'm reminded of the time my oldest son came to me about his school grades. My husband and I have always let both boys manage grades on their own with little supervision. It's their education, not ours, so they should put forth the effort to want to learn and succeed, Right? So he came to me and said "Mom, I think you need to take away my car because I got a bad semester grade". I was honestly surprised he came to me about it, but for him to recognize there was a problem was a big step in the right direction. We began sorting through the process of why his grade had dropped so drastically and it boiled down to not have self-control. You see, he was spending WAY to much time watching funny YouTube videos on his phone when he should have been doing homework or studying. The result ended in YouTube being deleted from his phone but this was the perfect opportunity to teach him about self-control. Most importantly, what God says about self-control.
The Bible says, "For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world" (1 John 2:16) When we exercise self-control, we are saying "no" for the sake of a bigger and better "yes". We are trading something in the here and now for something greater in the future. If we exercise self-control by faith in Christ’s superior power and pleasure, Christ will get the glory.
If we can begin to shift our focus more on Him, our thoughts and actions will change. We will begin to make decisions based on God's Word and not on our own heart's desires.
"For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age."