Summary: The Holy Spirit gives us a special grace of self-discipline that comes with being completely controlled by the Spirit of God. Ask the Lord to help you overcome your natural tendency to shy away from what God wants you to think, do and become.
Let the Spirit Enhance Your Self-Control Capacities
Illustration: SPIRITUAL POWER
In a seminary missions class, Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push.
After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. He went to the school near his home, got permission to take some children out of class, and had them push his car off. As he made his rounds, he would either park on a hill or leave the engine running. He used this ingenious procedure for two years. Ill health forced the Jackson family to leave, and a new missionary came to that station. When Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started, the new man began looking under the hood. Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted, "Why, Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable." He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch, and to Jackson’s astonishment, the engine roared to life.
For two years needless trouble had become routine. The power was there all the time. Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting that power to work.
1. MOTIVATES - The Holy Spirit motivates us to serve with love from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith by helping us to control our thoughts, emotions, and choices. Paul wrote, "The object and purpose of our instruction and charge is love, which springs from a pure heart and a good (clear) conscience and a sincere (unfeigned) faith." (I Tim. 1:5) Ask the Lord to help you discipline yourself for the purpose of greater godliness in all aspects of your personal life, your relationships and your ministries.
2. FOCUSES - The Holy Spirit helps us focus our emotional, mental, and spiritual energies on following Jesus Christ in all areas of our life. The writer of Hebrews wrote, "Looking away from all that will distract us, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith." (Heb. 12:1,2) Only the Spirit of God can keep you from getting distracted by the worries, riches or pleasures of this life. Ask the Lord to help you concentrate all of your resources on loving Jesus Christ and obeying His will.
3. RENEWS, REFRESHES AND RESTORES WILLINGNESS - The Holy Spirit helps renew, refresh and restore our willingness to do God’s will as we pray and study God’s word. David wrote, "As the deer pants for the water, so my soul cries out for you Oh God." (Psa. 42:1) Ask the Lord to help you spend at least thirty minutes alone with the Lord every morning to allow Him to replenish your willingness to do ALL of His will.
4. RESISTS TEMPTATION - The Holy Spirit helps us resist the temptation to lash back at people who criticize us or our ideas. The Spirit of God has a way of helping us not taking accusations personally. Jesus said, "If they reject you, they are rejecting me." (Luke 10:16) Ask the Lord to help you to avoid allowing fault finders to get to you emotionally, mentally or spiritually.
5. REMINDS - The Holy Spirit helps us remember that God can work all things together for good when we feel overwhelmed by problems. The Spirit of God is able to take all adverse factors and synergistically blend them together to create in us a greater Godly character, a wiser mind a more fruitful long term outcome. Ask God to help you remember that He can use everything for your best interests when you feel like quitting.
6. BRINGS TO MIND - The Holy Spirit brings to mind important scriptural truths that remind us that our own lack of self-control is our chief obstacle to success. (James 4:1-4) Ask the Lord to help you remember that it is not what is on the outside of a person that defiles them, but what comes out of a person’s heart and mind.
7. CONCENTRATES OUR EFFORTS - The Holy Spirit helps us concentrate our efforts on pleasing the Lord rather than trying to please people or our own selfish desires. Paul wrote, "Work wholeheartedly as to the Lord and not to please men (including yourself)." (Col. 3:23) Ask the Lord to help you direct all of your attention to pleasing God instead of people or yourself.
8. ENCOURAGES DISCIPLINE - The Holy Spirit helps us associate with Godly people who can encourage us to discipline ourselves for the purpose of Godliness. Solomon wrote, "He who walks with wise men, will be wise. But the companion of fools will suffer harm." Ask the Lord to help you consistently associate with Godly people who can help you practice self-control in your speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity of life. Trust the Lord to help you avoid spending a lot of time with people who are undisciplined, lazy or prone to anger or fearful reactions.