07.04.2016

Self-control

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Matthew 27:12 “And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing”.

Provocations and accusations are tools used by the devil’s advocate of the world to discredit God’s credible witnesses in the eyes of the world. The devil uses provocation to set a believer up for human judgement. Through their use of provocation tactics, the hidden devils by working from within a human vessel aims to activate a flesh reaction from a believer in order to make the believer appear as an unreformed stubborn goat instead of the sheep that he or she has become in Christ. And the moment a believer falls for the bait and reacts in anger, his or her credibility as a genuine Christian is then immediately questioned by human counterparts. The sort of judgement responses that can be immediately levied at a believer who reacts in flesh anger when provoked include:

- I don't expect such a temperamental behaviour from a true Christian

- Where is the humility and patience here? Surely this person cannot be a genuine born again Christian!

- And this person calls his or herself a Christian. Even a non Christian will not react like that talk less of a person who calls his or herself a pastor, Christian, believer, etc.

These sort of unrighteous judgement responses are of course the primary reason why the devil targets believers in the first place. And unfortunately the vessels who are often used by the hidden devils to fulfil their unrighteous judgemental agenda through provocation, are people who are very close to us whom we expect to love, support and cherish us and not needlessly provoke us unnecessarily.

The main thing the enemy aims to achieve by his provocation strategy, is of course not just to do with getting the believer to react physically in anger. The ultimate plan of the enemy is to make us sin against God by creating an atmosphere of malice in the mind towards our fellow being and a blame-mindedness heart towards God in, which a believer will ultimately become angry at God, charge Him foolishly and blame Him for allowing the situation in the first place. And the only way we can scatter this evil plan, and put satan and his devilish gangs to shame is by exercising self-control over our temperamental human flesh. The fact that we end up automatically angry when provoked is not in itself a sin because anger is an automated reaction to provocation (Ephesians 4:26). But what we do with our anger and how we react or respond inwardly when provoked is what could end up becoming sin. We can only avoid sinning against God when provoked if we are able to manage our anger inwardly and exercise self-control over our outer reactions and actions. And it is only by ensuring that we do not give malice a chance in our hearts and by exercising self-control over our automated temperamental reaction of the flesh, that we will glorify God and maintain our spiritual upper hand position against the hidden devils that are busy working from within the human vessels to provoke us.

As human beings, our automated reactions to provocations are normally driven by fleshy anger. And when flesh anger, which is an automated response to provocation is fuelled by flesh attributes such as; ego and self-pride, the reaction will indeed be a reaction of blind fury! A blind fury reaction is a reaction that is void of spiritual application of right senses. A blind fury reaction is basically a temporal-mental reaction, meaning in spiritual sense: A spontaneous immediate action or reaction, which evidences a temporal-loss-of-inability-to-mentally-judge-and-spiritually-dicern accurately. Thus the reaction is temporal/mental.

A temperamental reaction in spiritual sense is basically a foolish reaction that is void of application of spiritual wisdom, and the only means of preventing such reaction is to silence the unrighteous temperament of the flesh with a righteous noble silence. Maintaining a righteous silence does not mean becoming a mute. And a silence is only righteous and not sinful if it is not laced with a begrudging heart and malice keeping mind-set. The key reason for silence is not to begrudge or keep malice. Keeping malice in our hearts and begrudging others is a sin, and sinning against God through begrudging and keeping malice is precisely what the enemy is after by setting up the scenario of provocation in the first place. The whole essence of silence is to scatter the hidden enemy's plans and not to play right into the enemy's hands and sin against God as intended by the enemy through nurturing thoughts of malice internally and reacting externally in ways and manners that does not glorify God. Exercising self-control through active silence does not also mean that we will not speak when it is necessary. Instead, exercising self-control will enable us think before we speak and not speak before we think. A person that fails to exercise self-control and responds in the spur of the moment will only end up vomiting hurtful words in arrogance mindset of the flesh, that he or she cannot take back.

A negative word released in anger mode is like a huge building block of offence thrown at the opponent for the sake of seriously hurting and wounding the opponent internally. And the more the building blocks of offence that we throw accumulates, the higher the partition fence in relationships becomes. And the higher the partition fence, the more malice builds up in the heart and mind. And the more malice builds up in the heart and mind, the more heated up the inward warfare that will be going on in the mind. The endless reference to what was said in the past and how it was said when another angry situation arises are indeed proof of the fact that even though the matter seem to have been settled outwardly, the inward battle is still continuing long after the unleashing of the offensive words. An offensive words are like piercing daggers, which cuts deep into the heart. And unless we exercise self-control, we will end up releasing many daggers in form of offensive words, which will continue to tear others apart and cut them deeply in their hearts long after we have spoken it. Remaining silent when provoked and exercising self-control over what we unleash from our tongues will not just help us think before we speak, but it will also enable us to entirely appropriately respond in mannerisms of meekness, gentleness and in the royal nature of the fruit of the spirit we have acquired through our oneness with Christ (James 3:1-12, Galatians 5:19-26).

Maintaining a position of immediate silence when provoked does not mean that we are stupid, foolish or that we do not have anything valid to say or that we are weaklings. Indeed, our righteous silence is not just an uncommon royal character of Christ, but a demonstration of a high quality spiritual strength, that is highly effective in frustrating the hidden enemy and his evil plans against us. Besides the fact that righteous silence is a demonstration of high spiritual strength, it is also a gesture of active surrender of the situation to God. And by our active surrender of the situation to God in form of righteous silence, we disarm the hidden enemy behind the human vessels, silence our own temperamental flesh and glorify God in the situation to the entire shame of the enemy!

The angry reaction of the flesh is always entirely for vainglory. But when we surrender a provoking situation to God through active silence, we evidence the fact that our desire is to glorify God and not ourselves. The flesh by nature is of course auto furious when provoked and the fury of the flesh is often manifested through the throwing back of angry words at the natural human responsible for the act of provocation. And it is not uncommon for the flesh to keep on exchanging angry words in blind fury when angered, instead of maintaining silence. The real culprit of course is not just the physical human, but the invisible enemy that is busy directing the whole provocation show behind the scene, using the human vessel who has indeed through blindness of the flesh made his or herself available for use by the enemy. And it is only by our self-control and application of spiritual wisdom in form of righteous silence that we can appropriately tackle the real spiritual culprit, diffuse the natural situation, and render useless the ultimate plan of the spiritual enemy against us, which is mainly to do with tempting us with fury in order to get us into sinning against God.

Silence as the saying goes is indeed golden. But I must admit that it can only take the grace of God for us to be able to exercise self-control, and maintain a righteous silence when we are aggressively being provoked. Therefore, my key prayer for us all is, that the LORD will by His infinite mercy grant us the abundance grace that will need in order to exercise self-control and maintain righteous silence when we are faced with a provoking situation. I pray that the LORD Jesus will help us daily to glorify Him in our ways and character and that in all circumstances, we will do all things to glorify Him as our LORD and Saviour and never for the sake of vainglory. I also pray that by grace and mercy of God, we will consistently rise above our flesh goaty nature and continually manifest the fruit of the spirit to evidence our transformation and the newness of nature that we now have in Christ. Amen.

Galatians 5:19-26

"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."

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Pastor Olabisi

Pastor Olabisi was a mother, Senior Pastor, Evangelist, Prophet,Teacher, Psalmist, Author, Writer, Publisher and a Housing Practitioner.

She set up Encouraged by God as a means of encouraging and strengthening the faith of Christians everywhere.

 

Lived and died in Christ, 06 October 2016, aged 49 years old.

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