Change and Self-Control
What is control? The definition of the verb is “restraint or direction over; dominate”. The definition of the noun is “to hold in check”. The reason for both here is that the noun directly relates to yourself and the verb relates to others.
Why do I want to talk about control? Just viewing the chaos on the rise in our cities, states, communities, it is evident that some of it is not having self-control and the other is trying to control others. What else motivates violence except trying to control other people? We have yet to conclude that the very essence of chaos is lack of self-control or control. When we get real with ourselves and the sin nature of humanity, we will arrive at the place where we understand that self-control is one of the foundational elements of bringing change to our communities, cities, etc. When self-control is broad, it covers a wider spectrum.
Accepting that one person cannot change another is pivotal to changing our environment. There are so many factors that affect change, it is not possible to cover them all in one sitting. However, it is necessary to begin conversations that bring to light necessary methods to apply change. For instance, consistency is one. When you have a method that works, keep doing that. Repetition is necessary for permanent change. Knowledge and self-awareness is also necessary. Wisdom and instruction is necessary. Understanding is necessary. Forgiveness of others and self is necessary. Where do we begin? Accepting who we are in Christ, our true identity, is the beginning. When we can accept our identity in Christ, we can accept the identity of others. Loving others as we love ourselves.
Prayer is necessary for individuals to move toward change; for them and by them. Some would say how does that work when the choice belongs to the individual to change. I do not have the answer to that. I do have the word of God in how to navigate towards this goal.
2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heave, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.:
Ezekiel 36:26 – “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
God is faithful. The beginning is turning to Him for help. He’s given us Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
James 1:5 -“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
I was reading this verse and I was led to the reference Scripture, Jeremiah 29:12. I did read more than the one reference Scripture and wanted to share my thoughts.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 – 11) “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12) Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13) And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14) I will be found by you, says the Lord and I will bring you back from your captivity.”
Although the reference is wisdom, I was drawn to the last verse with God stating that He would bring the Israelites back from their captivity. It struck me that although God references the physical captivity of the Israelites here, we today are held captive by many things; the past, the present, and the future. Hence, my title for this post. It makes me think about so many things that keep us captive and not truly worshiping and seeking God. We do not rest in the peace He references above. There are times when we are so consumed with what we want, we are unwilling to accept that God is all-knowing and He knows what is ahead for each and everyone of us. Sometimes what we want will bring evil upon us. His thoughts toward us are of peace, and not evil, to give us a future and a hope.
There is a tendency when we read the Scriptures to expect God to respond in what we want and according to our mindset instead of what He knows is His best for us. When we ask God for wisdom, do we ask according to His thoughts toward us? Do we ask for true wisdom or do we just want what we want? The foundation of truth is that the beginning of wisdom is the fear (reverence and awe) of God.
Something to chew on.
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