Thursday, July 9, 2015

7 Christian Principles to Grow Your Faith:

Building a Stronger Trust Series

Part 3 Self-Control:

We have discussed the first two Christian principles from Apostle Peter’s message (2 Peter 1:5-7 NKJV) on growing faith. We understood virtue as a way of doing right by eliminating wrong. Then we saw Christian knowledge as the bridge to God’s wisdom. Those spiritual attributes are the first two building blocks to an unshakable faith.

Obedience will strengthen your faith more than you realize. Through God’s wisdom our knowledge of good and evil increased. We come up close to the destructive forces that want to turn us away from Christ. Those evil entities are real, and we see them exposed every day on the news, radio and The Internet.

Discipline allows us to stay firm on God’s word and receive Christ’s protection. Then we understand the Apostle James truth “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Have you experienced the devil fleeing from you?

Discipline isn’t easy. It takes persistent effort to deny ourselves and follow Christ. The evil one continues to look for weakness in our faith and entices us with temptations. The lack of discipline always loses the spiritual battle. 

Often the toughest place for self-restraint is over the small stuff. We are quick to use our limited strength in overcoming problems we are not equipped to handle alone. Here is how pride steps in and keeps us from asking Christ for guidance. Sin is sneaky and disguises itself  causing more problems. Our molehill now has become a mountain. 

The most efficient way of controlling ourselves from pride is turning to Christ at the start of the troubles. It’s through humility that the devil will flee because he can’t overpower God. Satan couldn't overcome Christ in the wilderness. And when we discipline ourselves by placing Christ above everything, then our protection is not from earth.  

How can we expect to enter God’s kingdom 
Without discipline?

Self-control isn’t a one time effort. It’s a daily exercise of faith. There is no way to master it yet provides the greatest defense against sin. God is watching our actions and takes notice of the way we resist unrighteous attitudes and behaviors. In our adherence to God’s commands, we receive grace. And this leaves no excuses for us not to praise and glorify Him.

Before my salvation, discipline was non-existent. I lived my life in the fast lane. Impulsive decisions were the way I lived. Often I took action on the first thought and followed the wrong direction. Self-will was out of control, causing conflicts between me and others. Bewilderment was a constant occurrence and despair engulfed my soul.

I’m grateful to announce things have changed. Through Christ, I have been reborn. Today self-control is as essential to my spiritual welfare as are food and water to my physical survival. Without the proper nourishment my body suffers and without discipline my salvation is incomplete.

The more I practice obedience; Christ purifies my heart. My personal sacrifices I’m learning to make are crucial to my Christian walk. I enjoy making the changes God is showing me to take. Surrendering myself to Christ and letting God take control has revolutionized my life. Discipline has been an essential ingredient in my transformation.

The neat thing discipline brings to the forefront is the fruitfulness it bears. For example, when we want to be dishonest and act in honesty, integrity is the fruit of the labor. God leaves His holy impression with the person receiving our truth because we used self-control. We have followed the will of the Lord and showed righteousness. When we deny ourselves, behave and live Christ-like our faith becomes unwavering.

 Opportunities arise each day to practice discipline. Our personal experience with God has shown us the cunning ways sin creeps into our lives. Remember, we are on the road to eternal life and exerting self-control in the flesh prepares us for heaven.

How does self-control help you in your Christian walk?