Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Taking Back My Mind: Learning Self-Control

Sitting here, talking to God today-- He kept overwhelming my spirit about: self-control.

In Galatians chapter 5, we learn that one of the fruits of the spirit is self-control. This is something we should be working towards, seeking with all of our hearts.

I know this is one area of my life I need the most work- and what better time to start than now.

I read a quote once that stated, "Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don't control what you think, you can't control what you do." 

And another great thought is this: "Self-discipline is your ability to listen to and take action based on your inner voice- regardless of how you feel, other influences, or temptations you face- is the key to self-mastery." 

I am someone that struggles with self-control-- especially when it comes to the battlefield of my mind. I honestly just let my mind run away with itself most days. I do little to control what I am thinking about-- which in turns means that I do little to control........................ me.

While researching on Pinterest, I found a great thought that I'm going to write down and keep with me at all times. 

"Like a muscle, the more you exercise self-control on a consistent basis, the stronger you get. As your self-control increases, the more you gain the ability to direct your life in a manner that is congruent with the true you. The more congruent your actions are with your thoughts and feelings, the better you feel about yourself and the decisions you make. Every time you feel good about a decision you make, it raises your self-esteem and your self-confidence. You also reinforce in your mind what you are capable of and it makes it less difficult to make similar decisions in life." 

Once I can grasp the concept of the fact that I CAN control my thoughts- my emotions- how I react to said thoughts----- I WILL gain strength. Once I gain strength- I will start becoming the TRUE version of myself. 

Being in control of my thoughts is difficult for me. Anxiety creates a block and makes it so tough for me to do at times. One great way to build up this strength- the strength to control thoughts- is to realize what I DO have control over.

Ruben Chavez broke this down for us on 'Think Grow Prosper." He told us about 26 things we DO have control over:

1. Our beliefs.
2 Our attitudes.
3. Our thoughts.
4. Our perspective.
5. How honest we are.
6. Who our friends are.
7. What books we read.
8. How often we exercise.
9. The types of food we eat.
10. The risks we take.
11. How we interpret situations.
12. How kind we are to others.
13. How kind we are to ourselves.
14. How often we say 'I love you'
15. How often we say 'thank you'
16. How we express our feelings.
17. Whether or not we ask for help
18. How often we express our feelings.
19. How many times we smile in a day.
20. The amount of effort we put forth.
21. How we spend/invest our money.
22. How much time we spend worrying.
23. How often we think about the past.
24. Whether or not we judge other people.
25. Whether or not we try again after a setback.
26. How much we appreciate the things we have.

Each day, I plan on trying to control one of these situations to prove to myself I HAVE that power. I do have it- I just need to tap into it.

The Bible gives a great picture of what a man or woman without self-control looks like.

Proverbs 12:16- "The [arrogant] fool’s anger is quickly known [because he lacks self-control and common sense], But a prudent man ignores an insult."

Proverbs 14:29- "He who is slow to anger has great understanding [and profits from his self-control], But he who is quick-tempered exposes and exalts his foolishness [for all to see]."

Proverbs 17:27- "He who has knowledge restrains and is careful with his words, And a man of understanding and wisdom has a cool spirit (self-control, an even temper)."

Proverbs 25:28- "Like a city that is broken down and without walls [leaving it unprotected] Is a man who has no self-control over his spirit [and sets himself up for trouble]."

Matthew 5:5- "“Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth."

Ephesians 4:1-2- "So I, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called [that is, to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior—a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation], with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another [a]in [unselfish] love." 

Refuse to have a quick temper.
Refuse to be like a broken down city without walls.
Refuse to be an arrogant fool.
Refuse to lack self-control.

It is not healthy and it all goes back to one thing: WORKING ON IT. It will not happen over time, but it can happen with perseverance and PUSH. 

What do you need to exercise self-control over? It is your thoughts? Your eating habits? Your recreational activities? Your drinking habit? What steps can you take to learn more self-control?

It is within our reach. We just have to tap into that power. We have thought of ourselves as victims... too weak to overcome for far too long. You HAVE the ability. I HAVE the ability. We just have to push ourselves to find it. 


The Journey of Proverbs: Chapter Six

Proverbs chapter six starts off talking about debt. If we are in debt to our neighbor or in debt to a stranger-- if we made a pledge with our lips/word of mouth- God encourages us to release ourselves from this obligation. Pay it off- and be done with it. When we are in debt to someone whether it is a person or a business, we are within their clutches. God tells us to run like a deer from the hunter. Pay off the debt and refuse to be in that mess again.

The Ant

Proverbs chapter six discusses the ant.

The writer tells us to observe the ant- this will only make us wiser. Even though the ant has no chief, no ruler, she still works all summer collecting food for the winter. She plans ahead. Through this, God encourages us to not be lazy. Laziness is a spirit. And laziness can tear things down in our lives, take things away from us, and break us down if we are not careful to control it. 

The Message says it best: Proverbs 6:6-11--

"How long are you going to laze around doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed? A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy-- do you know what comes next?"

It will leave us helpless if we are not careful.

Our Mouths

Proverbs 6:12 states, "A worthless person, a wicked man, is one who walks with a perverse, corrupt, and vulgar mouth." These wicked people plot trouble and evil. They spread discord and strife. 

We have to ensure that God would never describe us as "worthless, wicked, perverse, corrupt, or vulgar." 

Catastrophe is right around the corner for these individuals. Proverbs says their lives will be ruined beyond repair.

God help us.

Seven Things God Loathes.

Proverbs 6:16 begins by telling us six things God hates- and one more that he loathes with a passion.

Eyes that are arrogant (a proud look)
A tongue that lies
Hands that murder the innocent. 
Heart that hatches evil plots.
Feet that race down the path to evil.
A mouth that lies (half-truths)
A troublemaker in the family (Sows discord/spreads rumors among friends)

Remember What We Have Been Taught

God encourages to never forget what He taught us. This stuff is dangerous to our souls. Remember this! Say it every day. These teachings will watch over us while we sleep, when we are awake, they will speak to us if we let them.

Proverbs 6 states, "Sound advice is a beacon, good teaching is a light, moral discipline is a life path."

Following these commandments will keep us from immorality and temptations. Remembering these teachings will keep us from adultery.

The author writes, "Can you build a fire in your lap and not burn your pants?.... it's the same when you have sex with your neighbor's wife. Touch her and you'll pay for it. No excuses." [The Message]

Adultery is just as theft- it is a brainless act. Soul-destroying. Self-destructive. 

Your reputation will be ruined forever. 

And a reputation is worth more than rubies.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Journey of Proverbs: Chapter 5

Once again, God encourages us to listen to His wisdom. He tells us that this wisdom can keep us out of trouble- if we listen AND apply it to our lives.

The next couple of verses in Psalms discusses an immoral woman. The writer states:

"For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey [like a honeycomb]
And her speech is smoother than oil..."

"Immoral", according to the dictionary, is described as "lascivious" and "lascivious" is described as "inclined to lustfulness, arouses sexual desire."

God warns of being an immoral women, which immediately put conviction in my heart and made me realize how much I need to keep my heart aligned with His and be who He has called me to be-- in my speech, apparel, actions, etc

Although the lips of an immoral woman drip honey... God also warns that in the end she will be a pain in your gut and a wound in your heart.  "So that she does not think [seriously] about the path of life; Her ways are aimless and unstable; you cannot know where her path leads."

Five chapters in to Proverbs and God continues to encourage us to listen, listen, listen. We could learn so much from His Word. We must keep our distance from the "immoral woman"-- anything immoral at all. 

Partaking of this lasciviousness can have devastating consequences. 

- It can squander your wonderful life
- It will waste your life
- Your life will be full of regret

There is so much to learn from Jesus Christ. At the end of your life, do you want to worry about how you should have listened? That you should have discipline? 

The next part of Proverbs discusses how we should care for our marriage.

God encourages us to "drink water from our own well" and care for it or we could come home and find that our well is empty or polluted. We MUST care for our marriages. We don't want to wake up one day and realize that our marriage is dry and lifeless. We should remain pure within our marriage. Proverbs 5: 17-20 states, "Your spring water is for you and you only, not to be passed around by strangers. Enjoy the wife you married as a young man. Don't quit taking delight in her body." He encourages us not to take our love for granted. 

Proverbs 5 asks us the question- why would you trade enduring intimacies for cheap thrills with random people?

God sees every single move we make. He doesn't miss one of them. Sin will overtake you if you are not careful and death is the reward for an undisciplined life. Foolish decisions will only trap you.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Journey of Proverbs: Proverbs Chapter 4

Proverbs was given to us to teach us. To give us counsel. And God asks us to listen. To not let it go through one ear and out the other. To study it. To learn from it. We CAN learn from it if we allow it to be applied to our lives.

God wants us to consistently understand the importance of wisdom and knowledge. He tells us to sell everything if we have to in order to obtain it. He tells us to guard wisdom (once again) with our lives. Get her over anything, God tells us. He said it will add years to our lives (and this is repeated from Proverbs 3 so it must hold a great deal of value and importance!) The Bible is our road map. It teaches us-- we just have to incline ourselves to listen.

The Wicked

One verse that sticks out to me in Proverbs 4 verse 16. The writer states, "For the wicked cannot sleep unless they do evil and they are deprived of sleep unless they make someone stumble and fall." I read a quote once that stated, "Some people are so miserable with their life, they enjoy hurting people" and it reminded me of these verses in Proverbs. Evil people can't relax unless they are causing drama and pain. Lets make sure we aren't one of these people! They are perverse and violent-- Jesus, save our souls from this way of living!

The Way of the Right

The way of the righteous glows will light and it grows brighter and brighter every day.

However, the road of the wrongdoing gets darker and darker every day. 

Listen to His Words

God consistently reminds us to listen to His voice. We should keep these words at the center of our lives. The people who live by these words are BURSTING WITH HEALTH. God this is my desire! Health.... and I know it can only be obtained by taking these words and holding them in my heart!

We have to be adamant about watching over our hearts-- watching what we let in! Paying attention to what we watch, to what we listen to, to the conversations we have, to what we read... all of it goes to one place: our spirits!! We have to be the protector! 

Writing Challenge: Day 17 (08.02.2019)

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