Ever had a klutzy moment where you trip, essentially on your own feet, and looked around to see if there was something you could blame it on? I have. You might be interested to know that Solomon had something to say about tripping yourself.
Proverbs 11:5-6 [ESV] The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight, but the wicked falls by his own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.
Your own faults and sins will be your undoing. We trip ourselves up. Solomon was passionate enough about this point to repeat himself in verses 5 and 6. We’ve really got no one to blame but ourselves.
So many things, begin with an internal battle we have lost. Here are just a few scriptures that address this point:
Squabbles and fighting among brethren that begin with lust inside us. James 4:1 [NIV] What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?
Wrong words, inappropriate speech, that begins with a wrong heart. Psalm 19:14 [NKJV] Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.
A litany of bad behavior comes from within us. Matthew 15:19 [ NKJV] For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
Thoughts that are inclined to evil created a situation where God concluded that starting over, via the great flood, was the best next step. Genesis 6:5 [NIV] The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
We need a control panel inside, long before any thought becomes an inappropriate tweet, post or conversation and before any lust becomes a sinful action.
Luckily for us, this is exactly what God offers us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 [ESV] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
There is no law against not saying a thing that comes to mind, no matter how clever it might be or how much I think “they have it coming”. There is no law against not doing a thing my lust/desire tempts me to do.
Verse 24 tells us that this stopping things before they even start is precisely the work of a Christian. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Because Jesus was crucified, we too must crucify our desires and passions – and do it before they become words and actions.
Fortunately, this is what the Holy Spirit does. The Holy Spirit is our control panel at the thought and lust level. It is like a bit in a horse’s mouth that turns the horse based on the master’s thoughts and desires, not the horse’s desires. The Holy Spirit is like the rudder of a big ship that sets it on the captain’s course, rather than letting it float on the ocean. You might recognize the voice of James in these analogies, because these are the points he makes in James 3:3-4.
As followers of Jesus, as children of God, dear sisters, we must stop things before they start – at the mind level, at the heart level. We must pray that the Holy Spirit becomes the control panel that stops our human thoughts and wants before they become actions. We must ask the Holy Spirit to be the bit and rudder of our lives.
The Holy Spirit is our self-control. Let’s pray each day for it to be the control panel for our thoughts and hearts, and, thereby, to be the bit and rudder of our lives.
It is only by the Holy Spirit acting as the control panel inside our thoughts and hearts that we can keep from tripping ourselves up from the inside.
I welcome your thoughts, comments and questions. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.