rule: to manage, conduct, control; exercise power and authority over
When a bird sees a trap being set, it stays away (Proverbs 1:17, TLB), but at one time or another we have played around the trap thinking that we would never fall or we have played around the net thinking that we would never get caught.
He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls (Proverbs 25:28). Although temperance is listed as the last fruit of the Spirit, it is just as important as the first fruit (love) mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. It is what helps the other fruit to mature. Another word for temperance is self-control. Self-control is when you stop yourself from doing things you want to do, but shouldn’t do. Everything is permissible, allowable and lawful for me, but not all things are helpful, good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things (1 Corinthians 6:12). It is when you manage your feelings and emotions well. A person who lacks self-control opens himself up for attacks and danger. If there are no walls, there is no protection. The enemy at anytime can take you away captive. Anything and anyone can enter in to steal, kill and destroy. A good example of this is Jericho. Jericho was securely shut up to keep the Israelites out. None went out and none came in, but when the wall fell down flat, the Israelites entered and destroyed all that was in the city.
Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not partake of anything that would defile him (1:8). He made a decision and he was determined to obey God’s laws no matter what. He was serious about God. He wasn’t playing nor was he sleeping. When you’re sleeping in the natural, you are not alert or aware of your surroundings and it’s the same when you are spiritually sleeping.
In Judges 13, we see that God had a plan. His plan was to use Samson to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. The Lord blessed him (vs 24). One time, the Spirit of the Lord came so mightily upon him that he tore apart a young lion. He also killed one thousand men with the jawbone of an ass. Just like the devil hates you, the Philistines hated Samson. To them, he was the enemy and the destroyer of their country (16:24). One day, the rulers of the Philistines came up with a plan to bring this mighty man of God down and they used what he liked to fulfill that plan – a harlot. They may not have known his strength, but they knew his weakness and just in case the harlot refused their proposal, they were already prepared to give her what she liked – money. Her assignment was to seduce him so that she could find out where his great strength lied. Until the rulers learned of his secret, they could not bind him, afflict him and prevail against him (16:5).
Delilah didn’t succeed the first or the second time, but she was persistent. She pressed him daily with her words and urged him (16:16). Samson did not rule over his own spirit well. Instead of him guarding his heart, he told her all his heart and before you know it, he was sleeping – upon Delilah’s knees. A man later came in and shaved off the seven locks of Samson’s head and his strength left him. I know the things that the devil are tempting you with looks good and it may even feel good, but they only came to make you lose your strength.
Wake up! Let us not sleep like the others do. Let us watch and be sober (1 Thessalonians 5:6). Be mindful of your brothers and sisters in the Lord. Pray for your pastors. Don’t rejoice, gossip or laugh when they fall, but instead pray that they rise up again. For a just man falls seven times and rises up again (Proverbs 24:16). Watch, but also pray that we enter not into temptation. If you know someone who has been taken captive by the devil, pray that they recover themselves out of the snare of the devil (2 Timothy 2:26). Make up the hedge and stand in the gap before the Lord for them. Jonah chose to sleep rather than to obey God, but even in his disobedience, God spared him and used a shipmaster who didn’t even serve Him to wake Jonah up. So the shipmaster came to him and said unto him, What do you mean, O sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish (Jonah 1:6).
Get up! If you messed up, don’t lie down in regret, shame, guilt and condemnation. Before David’s child died, he fasted and wept, but once his child died, he got up, washed, anointed himself, changed his clothes, went to the house of the Lord and worshipped. His servants thought he was crazy, but David knew he couldn’t bring his child back. He couldn’t change what had happened and neither can you. The past has passed. Learn from the mistakes you made. No longer will we be fools that keep repeating the same foolishness nor will we tempt God, but we will learn how to rule our own spirit so we can stop living a defeated life and instead live a victorious life.
God wants to make you ruler over many things, but He can’t trust those who can’t first rule over their own spirit.
Prayer: Forgive us for obeying our flesh, its lusts, desires and affections. Lord, teach us how to rule over our own spirit. Your Son made us free. Now help us to stay free and not to entangle ourselves again with the yoke of bondage. I pray that we make up our minds and purpose in our hearts to not defile ourselves any longer. Keep us from falling and keep our feet from slipping. May the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead also raise up every person who is spiritually dead and spiritually sleeping, in Jesus’ name. Amen.