Fruit #3 - Meek, Gentle & in Control
FRUIT #3 – HUMBLE, GENTLE & IN CONTROL!
Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is … gentleness, self-control…
Some questions that arise from these verses are:
- What exactly does it mean to be meek?
- What does it mean to inherit the earth?
- What is gentleness?
- What is self-control?
- How do we apply these things?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE MEEK?
God approves of those who are meek …before we get to the inheritance, we need to understand what is meant by meekness, and how Jesus used this in reference to His audience at that time.
Meekness by the world’s standard is weakness. The meek will never get ahead, never be at the top, always get trampled on, be used and abused by others, and are a burden to the rest of society.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary app (2023) meek is:
- Deficient in spirit and courage; submissive.
- Not violent or strong.
In our society those who are considered meek are viewed as:
- Those who cannot think for themselves (easily led astray or fooled).
- Those who will not speak up (always shying away from conflict).
- Those who cannot help themselves (always dependent on the strong).
In fact, that is how society views most Christians:
- Weak-minded followers who check their brains at the door when they enter the church (blind faith).
- Always turning the other cheek but if they ever do speak up, they are hypocrites who are always judging others for the same things they do.
- Always whining and complaining with their hands either stuck out to the church for help or praying to God for help, never willing to just help themselves!
What the world thinks about a lot of things seems to be almost exactly the opposite of what God’s Word teaches:
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
In another words, do not get persuaded by ungodly arguments but instead let God’s Word and God’s Spirit guide you into the truth that will change you and be acceptable to God’s will.
Paul tells the Corinthians a similar thing:
2Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
Now, more than ever, we need our thinking to be transformed by the Word of God!
Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines Meekness as: a calm temper of mind, not easily provoked.
Websters 1913 dictionary defines meek as: 1. Mild of temper; not easily provoked or irritated; patient under injuries; not vain, or haughty, or resentful; forbearing; submissive.
“Now the man Moses was very meek.”
4239. praus, prah-ooce´ (4x) mild, i.e. (by implication) humble: — meek. See also 4235. praios, prah´-os; a form of 4239, gentle, humble: — meek.
1Peter 3:3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—
1Pet. 3:4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle (praus) and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
Humble, not proud. Pride takes many forms:
1. Self-exaltation: Pride gives credit to himself.
2. Self-promotion: Pride welcomes credit from others.
3. Self-justification: Pride expects credit from God Himself.
4. Self-degradation: Pride tears himself down.
5. Self-demotion: Pride compares himself to others.
6. Self-condemnation: Pride judges himself.
The meek approach would look like this in each case:
- God-exalting: meekness gives all the credit to God.
- God-promoting: meekness tells others God did it, not me.
- God-justification: meekness recognizes that only Christ’s work on the cross justifies me before a holy, righteous God.
- Others-focused: meekness focuses on building others up in Christ.
- Jesus-centered: meekness only focuses on Jesus as the ideal, not others.
- God’s-justice: meekness recognizes that only God is the just judge of all things.
The Apostle Paul was given a thorn in the flesh to keep him from becoming too proud with the revelations God had imparted to him. Paul recognized that others would see that what was given to him was a weakness (in fact that’s how Paul looked at it as well), but God gave him a different perspective:
2Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2Corinthians 12:10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Godly meekness is not weakness in the Lord’s eyes. Quite the opposite actually…it is where all of the believer’s strength comes from! If you are not meek, then you are indeed weak, because your faith is in yourself.
Jesus is speaking in Matthew 5 to a crowd that was in a religious system that was not meek. They were hyper-focused on self-righteous works and law-keeping. Their religious system was built on trying to be obedient to God’s Word, without giving God the credit or glory. The religious leaders were drunk with power, prestige, and position, not humble servants to God and the people. The laws were lorded over the people, and the sacrificial system was a way to make money. Their pride was in their forefathers and not their heavenly Father. Tradition instead of truth. Condemnation instead of grace or mercy. Favoritism instead of love.
Jesus opens His sermon with 3 hard-hitting statements to this type of religious system. God only approves of those who are:
- Poor in spirit (can do nothing without God)
- Mourn over their sin (recognize the true standard of what sin is and repent over that)
- Meek (humble and lowly in heart – God is the center of all things, not self)
The false religious system in Jesus’ time reflects NOTHING on Jesus’ list so far! They were, in fact, pretty much the opposite of each beatitude! I can only imagine the response of those who were listening that day. Well, I can only imagine the response of those who hear this today, as there is nothing new under the sun, as we are surrounded by false religious ideas and systems.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO INHERIT THE EARTH?
Does it mean that people who are humble before God will get the deed to the earth? Or is it a reference to riches or wealth of some kind?
We get almost the exact same verse in the Psalms:
Psalms 37:9 For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
Psalms 37:10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
Psalms 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.
The psalmist is saying that the meek shall inherit the land (the earth) when the wicked will be no more!
Philippians 3:18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Philippians 3:19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Citizens of heaven means we belong to God’s family, but more than that it implies ownership of something, such as land or a place or a part in a community.
Ephesians 1:11 In him (Christ) we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
Our inheritance is only through Christ and what He accomplished. If you don’t do God’s will (obedience) then you are not in God’s will (the inheritance).
Believers look forward to a new heavens and a new earth, ruling with Christ in His millennial kingdom, and being with God for all of eternity!
Inheriting the earth is a small fraction of what we have gained through Christ:
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
Ephesians 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
Ephesians 1:5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
Ephesians 1:8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
Ephesians 1:9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
Ephesians 1:10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Ephesians 1:11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
Ephesians 1:12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
Ephesians 1:14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Do you enjoy the earth as it is now? Imagine when there will be no more night or sin, no more evil or death, no more suffering or disease. Imagine a perfect, holy, righteous place with God dwelling in it alongside us. The new heavens and the new earth are just places…the importance is in who creates it and who dwells in it! Without God there is no purpose, meaning or fulfillment. With God, well, that means everything!!
WHAT IS GENTLENESS?
Gentleness is meekness! Gentleness in Galatians 5 is a form of the word for meekness in Matthew 5.
4240. prautes, prah-oo´-tace; from 4239 (praus, prah-ooce); mildness, i.e. (by implication) humility: — meekness.
Those who come to God in meekness should then produce that as a fruit of the Holy Spirit in their lives to others. You shouldn’t be a believer and be prideful and humble at the same time, especially if you are poor in spirit and mourn over your sin. Humility that has those 2 things alongside it will have no choice but to be evident to others. The beatitudes are for those with a changed heart and a transformed life, both of which are noticeable!
As similar as the two words are for meekness (praus) and gentleness (prautes), the latter does provide a little more insight into how that meekness is displayed…and that is with grace and gentleness. If you are humble before God, then you should be humble before those made in His image, albeit in a different way of course. We don’t worship others or submit to their sinful desires and demands, but we do respect how God created them and how His Word tells us to treat them:
James 3:8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
James 3:9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
James 3:10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
You can fool other people but never God. If you curse other people, then that is where your heart is at and that is a good thermometer for where your relationship to God is as well. Remember, your vertical relationship to God will affect your horizontal relationship to others and vice-versa. So, regardless of what we want to say or how they treat us…
Romans 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Notice that verse 19 doesn’t say “most of the time you shouldn’t avenge yourselves”, or “under these special circumstances you can seek revenge”. You might say “if only you knew my circumstances you would see that I am justified in seeking revenge” or “they deserved the cursing I gave them because of how they offended me”. Neither response is humble because they both refuse to be obedient to the Word of God, but rather look to an inner moral compass in a selfish heart. A humble person seeks the will of God in every area of life: that’s our thoughts, our speech, and our actions. And not just when it is convenient or matches closely to what you might already think, but always bowing the knee to the absolute truth that is Scripture! You want vengeance or justice, don’t worry, God will repay. He has set up the institutions of government and military forces so you might not even have to wait to see some justice done, even as corrupt as those entities might be. Rest assured though, no one escapes judgment and the just penalty due except for those whose faith is in Jesus and His finished work on the cross.
Humility approaches others with gentleness. Not arrogance or pride or vengeance, but gentleness. Gentleness is not being a doormat either. It doesn’t mean you just lie down on the floor and let others walk all over you and then say, “good day and god bless you!” as you limp out the door! Gentleness means what Peter says when witnessing to others:
1Peter 3:15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
1Peter 3:16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
You don’t want to walk away having told others about God in an angry, arrogant, rude, and condescending manner so that you feel guilty and ashamed afterwards. You approach others and treat them with gentleness and respect, regardless of how they treat you to your face or behind your back. If they are mean and won’t listen, then “shake the dust off your feet” and walk away:
Matthew 10:14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.
Matthew 7:6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
If they won’t listen, then walk away and find someone else who will. There’s only about 8 billion more people you can try! You can’t save even one person anyway! It is all the work of the Holy Spirit. You are just a tool (or perhaps a gardener) who can plant a seed, or sprinkle some water on an existing seed that somebody else planted, but it will always be God who causes any kind of growth, whether we get to see it or not. Approach others with gentleness and respect and leave them in gentleness and respect. If they won’t listen, then you have one more person to add to your prayer list!
Gentleness is something that the Holy Spirit manifests in a believer. Some might be gentler than others naturally, but this is on a whole different level than anything a non-believer can display. Just think of Jesus and how He manifested this quality when things were at their worst:
- Betrayed by a follower
- Wrongfully accused
- Illegal trial in secret
- False testimony of witnesses
- Unjust and undue verdict
- Beaten, tortured and spit upon
- Hung between thieves in a cruel form of execution
Yet, He remained calm…He didn’t fight for His rights and hire the most expensive attorney. He didn’t ask for an appeal or call His own witnesses. He didn’t wine and shout that it wasn’t fair or that He was innocent, even though He was.
Instead, He asked for forgiveness for those who were crucifying Him. He remained quiet and steadfast to His Father’s will. In short, He acted humbly and gently and willingly went to His death. There is a poem that expresses how most others view death, even those who wanted Christ to perhaps fight for His life:
DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT by Dylan Thomas - 1914-1953
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Perhaps I could add two more verses:
The humble Savior at the cross,
Put up no fight, nor mourned His loss,
Instead, He looked to heaven’s light,
And gently went into that good night.
Three days passed and night was undone,
The savior rose, the light had won,
The gentle king seated at God’s right,
Will help us go gentle into that good night!
There is a beautiful song written and sung by David Phelps called “Gentle Savior”. Here are a few of the lyrics:
Where are the signs? Which way should I go?
I planned each step but now I don’t know.
Tomorrow is a chasm of uncertainty,
But I will go there if you’ll go with me.
Gentle Savior, lead me on,
Let your Spirit light the way.
Gentle Savior, lead me on,
Hold me close and keep me safe.
Lead me on, Gentle Savior.
Be a gentle Christian. Humble, full of grace and truth with a heart for others, but most of all be gentle. Think of the gentleness of your savior. Think of the patience and gentleness God the Father has had towards you in however much life you have lived. As a believer think of the gentleness of the Holy Spirit that lives inside of you, gently pushing you towards godliness, never forceful but always there, patiently waiting.
WHAT IS SELF-CONTROL?
Quite simply it is being able to control yourself. If you are:
- poor in spirit
- mournful over your sins
- meek or humble
- and have to live in a hostile world system and in a body of sinful flesh,
Then you better have self-control!
1466. egkrateia, eng-krat´-i-ah; (4x) self-control — temperance.
2Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,
2Peter 1:6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,
2Peter 1:7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
Knowledge is linked to self-control and self-control is then linked to endurance. Self-control here is nothing like what the world thinks of self-control. The world would think of will-power or gimmicks like hypnotism to stop bad habits or start good ones. If only you tried harder or developed more disciplined routines, you would have better self-control. Hang out with the right people, eat the right foods, get the right job, exercise enough, all to keep you on the right path and from going out of control! (Now, keep in mind that these are still wise choices.)
Self-control in the Bible is about you letting go of the reigns and letting the Holy Spirit control you! Perhaps a better word would be Spirit-controlled! Any tiny part of self, without the Spirit in control is a disaster waiting to happen. The Word and the Holy Spirit guide, teach, and direct you. They convict, convince, and convert you. All of these pertain to knowledge and with the Holy Spirit and the Word at your disposal that leads to self-control through submission and obedience. A life of submission and obedience (let’s call it a spirit-controlled life) leads to endurance for all life has to throw at you!
Without the Spirit or the Word, then you are still at the helm of your ship, directing whichever way you want to go. Once you are a believer then there is a new captain who wants to direct your life, but it isn’t always easy to give up the steering wheel…
Romans 7:15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
Romans 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
Romans 7:19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,
Romans 7:23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
Two captains going in different directions is not a wise choice for any ship! Submit to the Holy Spirit as the captain of your ship and let Him have full control. If you give Him control then your life will be full of all of the fruits of the spirit, including joy, gentleness and self-control (something you could never accomplish on your own).
So, what does a meek, world inheriting, gentle, self-controlled person look like?
The short answer is Jesus Christ!
Don’t get too excited though, the Bible does have a longer answer…
So, what would a meek person look like from a godly point of view? There are really only two main factors along with some Proverbs that we can reference as theme verses for those factors.
- Our strength comes from God. A meek person recognizes the sufficiency of who God is and all that He has to offer.
- Our weakness is our flesh. A meek person recognizes the deficiency of who they are apart from God and that they have nothing to offer.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. (your flesh)
A meek person trusts God with all their heart – which is the mind, the center of all thoughts and emotions, which is where our beliefs, convictions and opinions all exist. Our minds give birth to our words and actions. If we trust God with our minds, then everything else will follow and He will give us a straight path which leads directly to Him!
By contrast, an arrogant person trusts in themselves, leans on their own understanding, is wise in their own eyes, does not fear the Lord, and refuses to turn away from evil (which is the absence of goodness or God).
A meek person’s motto could be as simple as GSID…God’s sufficient, I’m deficient!
How many times have you heard something similar to these quotes?
- Just follow your heart, your heart will never steer you wrong.
- You need to listen to your inner voice.
- Let your conscience be your guide.
- Trust your instincts (gut/feelings).
- Do what you feel is right.
All of these are the arrogant, haughty, narcissistic, proud, anti-god sentiments brought forth from a godless culture. A meek person rejects every one of those sayings and recognizes the ineffectiveness of going down those paths. Those are anything but straight paths.
So, where are you and I with regards to meekness? Just remember that we are a work in progress, so don’t beat yourself up too bad just yet! We will never fully be humble or meek as long as we dwell in a body of flesh. Every day is an opportunity to be transformed further and further into Christ’s image. God’s grace is made new everyday along with His mercies and patience as we stumble along. Is this something any one person has ever perfected apart from Christ? Absolutely not!! It is nevertheless our goal as Christians led by the Holy Spirit to be meek, just as our Savior was and is.
It's ironic that God says the meek will inherit the earth, because right now the strong take the earth by force! They plan and strategize how to get it, then they fight for it and kill for it, and when they have some, they want more of it. So much struggling and suffering and conquering and death over something that in the future God will just give away to the ones that seem to be mostly the victims now!
Luke 16:25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.
In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man Jesus says here that the rich man had his portion of the earth in his lifetime – he had wealth, good food, comfort, and enjoyed all that the earth had to offer, and only had faith in himself. Lazarus was poor and enjoyed very little of anything the earth had to offer but had faith in God. After death you see the complete reversal of each situation.
The meek will be given as part of their inheritance, the earth. The first creation of the heavens and the earth was designed for believers but sin corrupted that and brought a curse. The second creation, or the new heavens and the new earth will also be only for believers, and this time no sin will ruin it.
The main principle here is idolatry of possessions – stuff.
Matthew 6:19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
Matthew 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The application here is what does your stuff mean to you? Is your stuff necessary to make it through this life until we make it to eternity? Or is your stuff the focal point of this life with no real thought of eternity?
It’s been said that you can have stuff, just make sure your stuff doesn’t have you (meaning your heart – desires and longings). This saying can be attributed in part to Matthew 6:21 that we just read, which is “whatever you treasure has your heart”.
Look around at all your possessions – what percentage of that is laying up treasures in heaven or can be used for that purpose? How much of our time is spent acquiring the wrong kind of treasures that can be destroyed or stolen?
Now, I’m not saying that we need to sell everything we have and go live under a rock in the woods! We need to be practical and godly with all the decisions we make, and that includes the things we purchase. We also need to beware of a society that is bent towards all the wrong treasures, forever pushing them down our throats! Our purchases can be used in one of two ways for the most part, our glory or God’s glory. Think of something as simple as a pen…with that you can write godly words of encouragement, comfort, and help to those in need. You can write checks to churches and missionaries supporting their work for God with that pen. And think also of all the destructive things you can do with that pen – after all, the pen is mightier than the sword!
Meek people treasure God and not stuff. They treasure the Father’s plan for their lives more than whatever they can come up with on their own. They treasure His Word over and above their own thoughts. They treasure the Son and His sacrifice because there is nothing they could have done to accomplish what He did in their place. They treasure the Spirit because that is the guide they need to live a godly life.
God is not stingy…when He has your heart he will provide, as He even provides for those now who don’t believe or love Him. And he will do more than you can ever ask or even think about:
Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or (even) think, according to the power at work within us,
If you enjoy some of the things this earth has to offer…well, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Imagine what an infinitely intelligent, creative, and powerful God can do in heaven throughout all of eternity! If you think you will be bored in heaven, in the presence of the Creator of the universe, then that is frankly one of the most ridiculous things that has ever been thought.
When I think of the word gentle I kind of get a picture of a big reassuring hug in my mind. Warm, embracing, loving and tender – gentle…
Gentleness is closely tied to meekness or humility, and often translated as one of those three words as if they were synonymous.
So, what would a gentle person look like from a Godly perspective? Well, it would be someone who is gentle regardless of whatever is going on around them, and that would require a God-focused mindset. If God and His Word are not in you then you will not be gentle under certain circumstances, regardless of who you are.
Gentle people ought not to be anxious either as those seem to be at polar opposites, because gentle people tend to be at peace.
Gentle people often listen more and talk less…slow to speak and slow to anger, and the fool who causes anxiety and stress everywhere he goes utters every word that is on his mind…blah, blah, blah!
Gentle people know that God is sovereign, and it gives them reassurance to know that He is in control at all times.
How gentle compared to Christ are you and me? Would anyone else we know characterize us as gentle? What is keeping us from being gentle in tough or irritating times? And finally, if we recognize the gentleness of God towards us, why do we then not act that way towards other people?
Self-control is an enormous issue in a culture that overeats, overdrinks, overspends, under-exercises, and overuses social & popular medias. A tremendous number of medical issues would be either reduced on non-existent if we all had some self-control. There’s about a million self-help books all designed to give us better habits and willpower, aka self-control, if we would just follow “the 10 steps” to a healthier, happier you!
The Apostle Paul recognized the importance of self-control in the form of physical exercise but also in Godliness in his first letter to Timothy:
1Timothy 4:7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; (that’s self-control!!)
1Timothy 4:8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (Notice it’s not just for heaven but also for right now on earth.)
Self-control is a really poor way to word this attribute as “self” will never be a good thing to be in control when it comes to Godliness! Only God the Spirit can control you in a Godly way…
If you’re looking for 10 steps here, there isn’t 10…just one. Give up control of yourself and your life to the Holy Spirit that lives and dwells inside of you. The Spirit will use your personality and traits much like He did with all the different authors of Scripture. We’re not a bunch of soul-less robots that have been possessed by an alien intruder who sucked out our brains like you might see on some bad sci-fi movie! The Holy Spirit works with whatever we possess, and that includes our intelligence, our sense of humor, our personalities, our physical capabilities, our skills, and our passions.
So, the mathematical formula for a Spirit-controlled life would look like this:
A2 + B2 = C2 …no wait, that’s the Pythagorean theorem!
The Holy Spirit + God’s Word = the right godly thoughts, words, and actions!
There are NO substitutes in this equation.
The Holy Spirit + your thoughts? = a mess
You being in control? + God’s Word = a mess
You being in control? + your thoughts? = a really big mess!! (double whammy!)
The Holy Spirit + God’s Word = the right godly thoughts, words, and actions!
Self-control is actually giving that control away so that you can be submissive to the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to get Godly results. You are in every aspect of that equation! You read the Word of God…you pray to God…you do the good works that God has prepared for you…but it is NEVER just you or just the Holy Spirit.
It is the Holy Spirit and you…
It is God’s Word, but you are reading it while the Holy Spirit is giving you understanding and guidance and application from it…
The thoughts, words, and actions then are the fruit of the union of the Holy Spirit and yourself! (I will give you a new heart…(mind))
Be meek, not overbearing.
Be gentle, not harsh.
Be spirit-controlled, not flesh-controlled.
And you will inherit the earth, not the lake of fire.