How many famous people have you known or heard of who are greatly talented, skilled with great promise in their life and yet did not possess at some point in their life what is called “self-control of their passions.” They ended up in dishonor, some in disaster, and some in death because of the inability to control their bodies. I have seen Christians continually live their lives with a rock in their shoe and never enjoy this life or are continually discredited from any higher purpose. They go 4 steps forward and 10 steps back because of specific areas of their life that they cannot exercise self-control over in their bodies.
Proverbs 25:28 tells us: “Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.” Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:27… “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” Paul was afraid what his body could do. If he feels that way we should too.
POINT: You cannot be success in life the Bible Way when you cannot control those passions and temptations that can dishonor, discredit, and ultimately destroy you.
For some men it’s a very marked area… adultery, or pornography. But sometimes its simply impatience, worry, materialism, lust, quitting what you start, alcohol, drugs, anger, critical spirit, the refusal to give affection, a man who won’t put himself under authority, rebellion, unforgiveness. The Bible calls it the flesh. Paul calls it “the body of our vile state” which means as well “the body of our humiliation”, and it will humiliate you! He also called it “the old man” and “the body of our death” in Romans 7:24. “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” C.S. Lewis described it as a lizard that sits on your shoulder and whispers filth continually into your ear. It can discredit you and impede your progress and is a constant hangnail in your life that we all struggle with.
But… gentlemen… In a believer it is dethroned. It is not an equal opposite force against our spirit. It’s called crucified… it’s power is broken by the New Covenant and the power of the Holy Spirit. But it’s still present. It’s a live grenade that lays in your path. It’s a loaded gun. It’s a rattlesnake that is always there waiting to strike. It’s something that no degree can help you with, no amount of IQ, no physical power, no talent, no beauty, no strength, no accomplishments that you have will deal with it.
I have seen ministers destroy their ministries with a complete understanding of what they were doing because of their flesh… removing themselves from ministry because of the inability to deal with their flesh…no self-control. I repeat again, you can’t be successful in life the Bible Way when you can’t control these passions that can ruin you. You have to deal with your body, your flesh. You have to gain control. But how do you do it?
I’m going to give you 7 things men on how to deal with your flesh and gain Self-Control…
#1: You’ve got to believe it. The day you think that you are not susceptible to destroying your life is the day the decline starts.
#2: You must illuminate your sin in the light of the Bible. Our nature is such as Proverbs 14:9 states it, “Fools mock at sin, but the righteous seeks to discern his way.” Righteous men get introspective about their sin. Psalm 139:23 says, “Search me o God and know my heart.”
#3: You must consider it dead. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. I have a different mind, a different conscience, and I have the ability not to destroy my life.
#4: Whenever you feel the inevitable inclinations of your flesh you jam it with truth. That’s the purpose of the Bible, it jams error. The Bible brings you to a fork in the road whereby you relinquish your rights and submit to God, resist the devil and he flees from you. Psalm 119:4… “Your Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
#5: You fight it. You must fight the inclinations from your flesh. Paul said, I discipline myself… “Do not let sin reign in your mortal bodies that you should obey its lust, but submit yourselves to God.” You all want to live an enjoyable life, with good family, good marriage, and a life with eternal impact. To do that you have to fight and say NO to you flesh. You do it because the reward is greater than the sacrifice!
#6: You must starve your flesh. Romans 13:14… “Make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lust.” Cable and Internet are eating up men… Starve it!
#7: You must cleanse yourself when you sin.
“If I regard iniquity in my heart my prayers you will not be hear my prayers.” When you sin stop right there. Godly men are those who in their lives don’t just roll past their actions. They submit their thoughts and their actions to the light of God, and His Word, and they stop and say,“Forgive me.” When you mess up you must have the character, spirituality, and absence of pride, to put the breaks on and deal with it. If not you’ll get eliminated from joy and service.
Listen guys… There is no pleasure so great as to demand the cost of your joy, your family, your friendships, and your ministry.
You cannot be successful in life the Bible Way when you can’t control those passions, be they demonstrable or be they subtle. You as a believer have the Holy Spirit fruit of self-control inside of you. Tap into it and move into victory!