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Archive for May, 2019

Sun setting behind the stark Baobab tree on the road to Nsanje, Malawi.

“So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled” (1 Thessalonians 5:6 NIV).

Where can you find an attitude of alertness and self-control in this day and age? We see lack of both everywhere we look. Not only that, we are enticed to get caught up in our own desires. And as far as self-control goes, many people have no idea what it means. We are surrounded by media of all kinds that tell us what we should eat, what we should wear, what we should drive, where we should go to school, who we should associate with and everything else about improving our lives.

Media is smothering us. The noisy hum of information drowns out any productive thinking. Sounds of advertising jingles swirl through our brains as we try to remember a famous piece of music. Poetry gets reduced to rhymes that sell cereal or used cars. Our exhausted intelligence just wants to fall asleep. It’s too hard to think with everything going on around us.

Let’s separate ourselves from the world of mind-numbing electronics and turn to the Word of God. We must do this in order to stay alert. It takes self control to make the change. Our friends may think we’ve lost it, but we’re in the fight to gain it, that is, to gain back our sense of self and the ability to make decisions without the input of someone we’ve never met or know anything about.

Would you take the advice of a derelict on the streets? My guess is that you would not. Then why do we let the media lead us through our lives like a puppy on a chain? The thing that I find incredible is that people actually believe that the things they see and hear on media are being presented for their well being. The media is all about making money. It has absolutely nothing to do with our welfare. We have to look out for ourselves.

Thankfully, God has given us brains and the ability to use them, along with the Word to keep us alert concerning what is going on around us. In Galatians 5:22-23 it says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

When we accept Jesus into our hearts all of these things come with the Holy Spirit. We just need to tap into the Spirit. Notice self-control is included. This is imperative for success. God is not going to control you. He gave you free will so you would have choices to make every day. Self control can make the difference between success and failure.

Most people think that the key to self-control is discipline. Discipline plays a part, but discipline alone will ultimately fail. Most of us have proven this over and over in some area of our lives. The key is to tap into the Holy Spirit. The really good news is that you can take action. You decide which desires are not important.

Take a critical view of the world and simply make the decision that these desires are not worth fighting for. When tossing your desires into the trash can, it releases the Holy Spirit to fill you with God’s desires and the power to achieve them. This is self control ― throwing your own desires out, so God’s desires can fill your life.

For today, let your attitude be one of self-control. Identify a specific desire that the media has put into your life. Now and make the decision that it is unimportant and throw it into the trash.

Gracious Father, thank You for your many gifts included in the Holy Spirit. Teach me to implement them daily as I walk through life. Keep me alert so I will not fall asleep and be complacent. Help me throw my selfish desires into the trash. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

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