Sunday, January 12, 2014

Control vs. Trusting in God - Part 1

"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires:  but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;  the sinful mind is hostile to God.  It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.  You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.  And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.  But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you."  Romans 8: 5-11

This world is all about control.  Control in relationships, politics, war, career, financial portfolio, school, our health, entertainment - the list goes on and on.  The world even implies that we can control our future by having a "five year plan" or "if you are ambitious enough it will happen."  Do we really have control over any of these things that I've mentioned?  I think that many of us have learned the hard way - with the housing bubble bursting, Wall street collapsing, governments and countries going bankrupt and unemployment at levels not seen in decades - Do we really control our future?  The answer is No - but Don't freak out because God is in control. 

This is part 1 in a series about "Control vs. Trusting in God".  Today we are going to study what it is that we are truly supposed to control - what is it that God commands?

We are only responsible for ourselves.  Now, I know that all parents out there are saying "I'm responsible for my children" - there's a difference between control and being responsible for the good of another.  You see - guiding, encouraging and teaching is not controlling.  There's only 1 thing that we are supposed to control - and that's SELF.  Although, (this is IMPORTANT) - when we become a Christian and accept Jesus as our Savior - we are then controlled by the Holy Spirit.  We must learn to control our: thoughts, emotions and actions through God who gives us strength. 

"I can do everything through him who gives me strength."  Philippians 4:13

We have talked a lot about how important are our thoughts - read "Think Good Thoughts" (click HERE to read).  As it says in Romans 8 (see first few verses above) - "The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace."  With the help of the Holy Spirit we can control our thoughts which in turn will help produce good emotions and good actions.  I can't say for sure which one comes first; our actions and then our thoughts and emotions follow or our emotions followed by our thoughts and actions - all I know is that all three feed into each other and effect each other.

There will be many times when it will be impossible to control our emotions - for example:  crying because of sadness at a funeral , or maybe happiness shown by laughing or tears of joy at a wedding - this is a normal and healthy show of emotion.  Trying to hold in laughter or tears is like trying to hold in a cough when you have a cold - that's impossible!!  The kinds of emotions that do not glorify God are the extremes that we need to control like: being depressed and crying all the time (which could just be a chemical imbalance but needs to be addressed, not ignored) or fits of rage (screaming and yelling at others in traffic) are just a few examples of extreme ungodly emotions.  I've mentioned before that one of my weaknesses is a horrible temper - the verses below address this "fly-off-the-handle" emotion that has no place in the life of someone living for Christ.  I struggle daily with controlling this emotion but with God's strength I know that I can overcome this sin.

"Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city."  Proverbs 16:32

"A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control."  Proverbs 29:11

What we do with our body through our actions is so important.  I've quoted this before: "actions speak louder than words" - what you do might be the only experience that those around us might have with Jesus.  Words go in one ear and out the other but our actions are remembered.  Equally important is what we put into our bodies.  Whatever we allow into our life (what we watch, what we eat, what we study, what we wear, what we drink) will influence our actions going out from body.  I'll give an obvious example: You go to a party and decide to have a few "drinks" - hours later you find yourself in a drunken stupor and have to rely on a non-Christian co-worker to drive you home.  The next day you "call in sick" telling your boss that you have the flu - when your co-worker asks about you he finds out that you lied.  A bad action going out in response to a bad decision coming in.

"that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,"  1 Thessalonians 4:4

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own;  you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body." 

1 Corinthians 6:19 & 20

Let's strive to control ourselves by controlling our thoughts, emotions and actions through Jesus Christ who strengthens us.



  1. Excellent!! Very 'nourishing' to the soul...

  2. Just what I needed to hear and right at the very moment I needed to hear it! Thank you so much for this afternoon's Bible Study, My Friend. ...Much Love to you{{{hugz}}}


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