Melissa and Angie got together for their usual lunch break, and Angie was heated yet again. She had a few choice words with one of their coworkers and couldn’t wait to tell Melissa all about it. Melissa is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and her calm demeaner and advice has often kept Angie from turning a minor misunderstanding into a crisis. During their five years of working together, Angie has vented to Melissa about the things she’s struggling with, especially about her terrible habit of popping off on people and refusing to control her tongue.

Sometimes Angie would catch herself and before totally letting loose on someone, she’d pause and even walk away, but this was rare. Very capable and resourceful, Angie knew her stuff, but because of her lack of self-control when it came to her tongue and temper, she didn’t get the kinds of promotions others did. She blamed everyone but herself for this.

Proverbs 4:23(NLT) tells us, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Our responsibility as God’s children is to guard our hearts against the very things that hold us back and keep us separated from the blessings we desire most. Angie felt that she had to do battle against those who overlooked, dismissed, disliked, and talked about her. She felt that it was her job to put them in check because if she didn’t, in her mind, she’d be allowing people to walk all over her, and she was not about to let that happen. Popping off on others was her way of guarding her heart, but it wasn’t working. It was exhausting her in ways she couldn’t begin to know.

There is no question that people will overlook, dismiss, dislike and talk about us, and some will do it for no other reason than the fact that we have the light of Christ. God tells us in Ephesians 6:12(NLT), “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Our fight isn’t with people but satan, who uses and works through people to come against us. God did not keep this a secret. He warns us in 1Peter 5:8(NLT), “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” Our Heavenly Father instructs us to stay alert! We’re to keep our eyes open and our minds on full alert, because the enemy is crafty and cunning, and he will use wicked tactics that can greatly harm our lives and our relationship with God.

These tactics of the enemy are those he has crafted from our weaknesses and failure to do what God says. Injuring and separating us from our relationship with God is satan’s target, and he does this by using the actions of people to shatter our happiness, self-control, power, and well-being. 2Timothy 1:7(NLT) says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” These treasures come from God; power, love, and self-discipline or self-control. When we operate outside of these, we slide away from God’s Word and provide an opening for the enemy to disrupt our peace and well-being. We can prevent this from happening, and we should.

Through the Apostle Paul, God teaches us in 2Corinthians 10:4(NLT), “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” Worldly weapons are those that do not come from God. They are thoughts, emotions, intentions, and actions that oppose His love, power, and strength. These are destructive words and deeds from anger and bitterness, and often when we use them against others, we are really using them against our own lives. This is the underhandedness of the enemy, causing us to self-sabotage without us being conscious of what we’re doing. Angie was trapped in habit patterns like this. They caused her to work against her own good, and many of us are doing this as well.

The weapons that our Heavenly Father gives us exceed the level of human reasoning and understanding. If we desire to walk in the victory of Jesus Christ continually, we cannot make a habit of fighting spiritual warfare with weapons of the flesh. That is a strategy that will not work. God tells us in Ephesians 6:13-14(NLT) to 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.” We must remind ourselves that it is the Lord who guides our footsteps and sets them on the path of His manifold blessings and peace. The question is always about whether we will follow His leadership or continue to travel down a road of self-effort and defeat.

Self-control is the mark of a believer that is totally sold-out and fully persuaded in the power of God and the weapons that His power extends. All of us are tempted to fight back in the flesh when we are triggered. We want to use our mouths and physical strength as weapons, and we want to speak and use words that are on the level of the one that is coming against us, but this does not reveal strength; it reveals our weakness. It reveals insecurity and a lack of trust in God. We must know that the enemy will take that and use it to undermine us in the most hurtful way. Allow your faith in God to fight for you. It will knock down strongholds. Your faith in Heavenly Father will continually pave the way for you to stand strong in Christ, and when you follow His lead, you’ll reap the rewards and become spiritually strong and full of God’s love, power, and peace.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Self-Control”, written for© 2023. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *