Joyce Meyer - Out Of Control And Loving It
I have a message for you that is gonna take a lot of stress out of your life. It is gonna make your life so much better. The title is called Out of Control and Loving It. Out of control and loving it, and I'm not talking about you being out of control and doing whatever you want to do. I'm talking about stop trying to control other people and circumstances and even sometimes God, and learn how to let go of that stress and you'll love it.
We're gonna talk in a minute about four different reasons why we try to control things, but there's two ways we can look at this. First of all, you don't want to let anybody control you. That's not God's will for your life. It's not good for them, and it's not good for you. And you don't want to be trying to control other people. This is especially difficult sometimes for parents who have grown children. It's hard to be in a position of guiding someone, pretty much telling them what to do and how to do it pretty much all their life and now all of a sudden, they don't want you doing that anymore. They don't appreciate your advice. They don't take your advice. They get mad when you give them advice.
And it's hard sometimes to let go of that. But it's a transition that everybody has to make and if you want to get along with your grown children, then you have to come to a point where you realize that they have the same right that you do and that is to make their own decisions. Even if the decision they're making is bad, it's still theirs to make. And sometimes the only way they can learn what to do and what not to do... how many of you know we don't always learn by somebody else telling us what to do and what not to do? It's not that your advice may not be good, but a lot of times people just have to learn by going through things.
But I want to start by telling you a story. Dave and I went to a church a long time ago, and I don't know if you know it or not, but, you know, churches sometimes can have clicks in them just like out in the world. You know, there's like a certain group that if you want to be in the list of who's who in the church, then you need to be in with that group. Well, I didn't know back then what I know now, and I was pretty insecure still from the things I'd gone through in my childhood. And I was looking for significance and looking for worth, and so, when we're doing that, a lot of times we think that our value increases if we can be friends with somebody who is the right person to be friends with.
So, I wanted to get in with this certain group of people in the church and I'll tell ya, I worked at it really hard. I manipulated. I gave compliments to the right people. I called the right people. I did everything those right people wanted me to do, and I wanted Dave to be an elder in the church. I don't know if he wanted to or not, but I wanted him to. And a lot of the guys in this group were elders in the church and so, I thought, you know, if they like us, then Dave will probably get asked to be an elder. And I wanted him to be an elder because I was nosey and I wanted to know everything that was going on, and wanted to help run the church.
And so, finally I got in with this group of people, but in order to... if you get a relationship by letting people control you, then you're always gonna have to do what you did to get it. And eventually you're gonna get tired of it. Well, in 1976, God touched my life. I was filled with the Spirit and he called me to start teaching a Bible Study. Well, you know, those people that I worked so hard to get that relationship with were the first ones to turn their back on me and want nothing to do with me anymore. So, I'm just gonna tell you if you want right friends and good friends, then you're really kind of better off not to pick them out yourself, but to ask God for divine connections. And who God put you together with may not be the person that you would have chosen, but you're much better off to have a right relationship that's healthy than to have one that you chose and manipulated and maneuvered around to get for yourself and end up getting hurt. Can somebody say, "Amen"?
All right, so first reason that we'll talk about... well, first of all, let me just ask, do we have any people here that like to be in control? I guess I should find out first if I've got any people here that need my message tonight or if I should just, you know, forget it. But the first reason we can talk about about why we like to be in control is just simply we're afraid that if we don't control the situation, that we won't get what we want. And basically we all pretty much want what we want and we work pretty hard to get it. And Jesus said, it's recorded in Mark 8, "If anybody wants to be my disciple, let him forget himself and let him come after me". The amplified makes it really good. It says, "Forget himself, lose sight of himself, and all of his own interests, and take up his cross and follow me".
So, selfishness, as far as biblical teachings are concerned, is a big NO-NO. We're supposed to learn how to care really more for others and their happiness than we do for our own. Now, I don't know about any of you. I don't know how long you've been walking with God or how spiritual you are, but I'm still working on that. Is anybody else here still working on, you know, not just... let me tell you something: If you cannot get what you want and still be happy and have a good attitude, you're pretty far up the scale on spiritual maturity. How many of you can not get what you want and still stay happy? About 20% of the crowd. Thank you for being honest. I'm better, but I still got a ways to go. The desire to control is rooted in selfishness.
Just a couple of scriptures on selfishness just to kind of get us grounded. 1 Corinthians 13:4 and 5, "Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy or boast. It is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way". Say that with me, "Love does not insist on its own way". "It is not irritable and it is not resentful".
You know, sometimes when we fight and argue with somebody to get our way and we win, we really haven't won, we've lost. Dave and I needed a picture at one point for some wall in our house, and we were at the mall shopping and there was a store there that sold pictures. And Dave and I don't have the same tastes in decorating, not even like remotely close. Dave wants everything in the room to stand out, and I want everything to match and blend. And so, he saw this picture that he really liked, didn't matter that I thought it was gonna look crazy on the wall because it didn't have anything to do with anything else going on in the room. And there was another picture that I liked that he didn't like and so, you know where it goes from here, right? And so, Dave's a real peace-loving guy and he's not real big on fighting and arguing. And he finally just said, "I don't care. Do what you want".
So, I'm walking down the mall and I could just feel this little satisfaction in my flesh. Come on, you ever just feel that it's like, "Yeah, I got my way"? But, you know, I heard the Holy Spirit say, "You think you won but you actually lost". Because the way that I went about it was not a godly way. You see, God wants us to delight ourselves in him and let him give us the desires of our heart. He doesn't want us manipulating and trying to control situations because if you get what you want that way, then really you didn't win, you lost. You may have gotten the thing you wanted, but you displeased God about the way that you got it.
Philippians 2:3 says, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourself". Now, that doesn't mean that you're not important. We're all important, but not one of us in this room is any more important than the rest of the people in the room, amen? We're gonna talk about pride in a few minutes. I don't know if you want to talk about pride, but we're gonna talk about pride for just a little bit. Let me ask you a question, is there somebody that you love that you're trying to make them love Jesus like you do, but they're not interested? When we have a relationship with God and we know what people are missing and we love people, we so much want them to love God and we try all of our different things. We drag them to meetings. We leave books open at just the right place. We turn Joel on real loud hoping that they'll walk through the room and hear just the right thing.
And I'm just gonna tell you a secret, save yourself a lot of stress, you cannot make somebody love God, can't do it. Now, God may use you in their life, but they're probably not gonna be won by conversation. If anything, they might be won by your godly behavior and godly example in front of them. Now, one of the reasons why I'm doing this teaching is because I had a little problem earlier in the year. Well, not a little problem, I had a pretty big problem with I got sick, didn't know what was wrong, didn't know what was wrong. And had every kind of test you could have and they said I'm just so healthy, it's ridiculous. And I'm like, "Well, then why I am falling apart"? And basically came down to chronic stress, just working too hard too long but a lot of my work was not... I mean I work externally. I do conferences. I write books. I do television, but for me it came down to a lot of it was internal. A lot of it was things like this, like trying to control situations that I couldn't control or like, you know, say like one of my kids is late all the time. He's just not good at being where he's supposed to be on time.
Well, you know, I don't like that. And so, I try to talk him into changing or I try to guilt him into changing, and he doesn't like that. And so, then that causes a problem. And, you know, you finally just have to get to the point where you're like, "You know what, God, it is not my problem". Come on, is anybody out there? There's only so much that you can do, and God gives everybody a freewill. God never tries to control us, or force us, or manipulate us, or guilt us into anything. The devil does. He's a manipulator and a controller. So, when we try to do that to people, we're actually operating in more of an evil nature rather than a godly nature. God shows us what to do. He leads us, he guides us. He tells us the consequences of doing what he says and the consequences of not doing what he says, but he never tries to make us do it. He leaves it up to us. We have free choice. We have freewill, and if you ever want to have any friends that last for very long, you have to give them that same freedom where you're not trying to control them and make them do you want them to do. Same thing in marriages, same thing with your kids.
I have four grown kids and I have a really good relationship with all four of them but I'll tell you what, I've had to learn to mind my own business. And you have to learn your kids are different. Now, you know, I've got one daughter. I can give her advice all day long. She don't care. It's fine. She'll do it if she wants to. If she don't, she don't. But she never minds me giving her the advice. It doesn't bother her that I give it to her. And then I have other children that it's like, "Don't try to tell me what to do". So, you have to know people and you have to learn how you can function, you know? I mean, I'll admit it. I love to give advice, you know? I'm a teacher. I mean, I'd like to tell everybody what to do. And I would be pretty sure that I'd be right. But here again if you want to have any friends or if you want your marriage to last, come on now, you gotta learn that you're not gonna get your way all the time and you can't control everything that's going on. I'm gonna really help somebody tonight.
Somebody here tonight, I'm telling ya, it is hard work trying to run the world. I mean, it just like keeps you internally busy all the time, constantly. This thing about trying to make people love God, I mean it was made clear in Joshua 24:15. "If it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the Gods of your fathers served in the region beyond the river, or the Gods of the amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". So, he made his decision and he said, "Now, you make your decision". God has given us so much free choice that honestly, he will even protect somebody's right to go to hell if that's what they're determined to do. God will not try to force us into doing what's right.
1 Corinthians 10:24 says, "Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor". I'm glad that God just keeps working with us until the day he comes back to get us 'cause I'll tell ya, when I read scriptures like that I think, Joyce, after 42 years in the word, you still need a lot of help. How many of you agree this selfishness thing is pretty, pretty challenging? I mean, we want what we want. The second reason why we try to control situations in people is pride, just plain old pride, which is also self. It's I, me, what I want. We don't like the decisions that people are making, and we're pretty sure that if they would just do what we think they should do that their life would be so much better because after all, we know more than anybody else does. None of you are like that, I'm sure. The desire to control is rooted in pride.
Romans 12:3, "For by the grace given unto me, I want everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to". Now, it doesn't say you should have a poor opinion of yourself but it says, "Don't think of yourself more highly than you ought to," or another way to say it is don't think you're better than other people. Don't think you're smarter than other people. I can tell you there are some things that you can do that other people can't do, but here's the part we miss. There's also things they can do that you cant do. Okay, I'll say that again 'cause somebody missed it. You know, like for example, you know, the reason why so many marriages get in trouble is people get married and then they try to change the other person to be just like they are. And the whole thing is is you're usually drawn to somebody that has what you don't have and God's idea is that by the two becoming one then they become a whole person because Dave has gifts, I have gifts, but I spent the first, I don't know how many years of our marriage trying to make him do what I wanted him to do.
And I can tell you it just doesn't work. People resent you. Come on, people resent you when you try to control them and even if you manage to do it, it will never be a healthy relationship. And so, I would say that our marriage probably really began when we shook hands one day and said to each other, "I accept you just the way you are and I will not try to change you". And that doesn't mean that you never, you know, if I was behaving badly, Dave would correct me. It doesn't mean you never give each other any advice, but there's a difference in that and trying to make somebody be the way you want them to be. I'll tell ya a secret, God wants us to love people as they are, not the way we want them to be. Amen?
And boy, that sure comes into play when we think about our kids. The Bible says, "Train up a child in the way they should go according to their own individual gift, or bent, or personality". There's nowhere in the Bible that it ever says that a parent is to try to make a child do what they want them to do. God gives us children, but they're really his and he wants us to find out what their gifts are, help them decide what God wants them to do and not try to live our unfulfilled dreams through them. And so many parents do that. How many kids are just, they're miserable because they're doing something for mom or dad because that's what mom and dad want and it's not even what they want or what they like. So, you're gonna enjoy your life a lot more if you give people the freedom to make their own decision.
Now, obviously I'm not talking about a three or four-year-old child. You can't just say, "Well honey, I just want to set you free and you just do whatever you want to". But I'm talking about the cycle of life where gradually by the time your kids are getting to be teenagers, you gotta give them a little more freedom, and a little more freedom, a little more freedom. And I can tell you by the time they're around 18 to 21, you better be ready to let go because something happens in every person at that point and they want independence. They even want the right to make their own mistakes. How many of you have a hard time letting your kids make their own mistakes? It's challenging not to get involved in it, isn't it? I know exactly what you mean and it never stops no matter how old they get.
We don't like decisions that people make and we are absolutely certain that we would do a better job than they would. "By the grace of God, I want everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think". Here again, God does not want you to have a bad opinion of yourself. Don't think low, bad, condemning thoughts about yourself, but it's kind of good to say to yourself a couple of times a day, "You know, I'm no better than anybody else. And there's things I'm good at, but there's things they're good at that I'm not good at". So, there's things I'm good at that maybe Dave's not as good at, but there's a lot of things he's really good at that I'm not good at. And usually when we're having problems in relationships, pride is always at the base...
Matter of fact, you can't have an argument if pride is not involved. Pride is involved in every divorce, and it's usually both people thinking they're right and neither one of them being willing to even consider that they might be wrong. When I finally got to the point where I found these nine magical godly words, want me to tell you what my nine words are that probably saved my marriage? "I think I'm right, but I could be wrong". It's amazing how it disarms people if you're arguing about who's right about something if you will at least be humble enough to consider that you may be possibly could be wrong. Now, you know, Dave at this point, 'cause we've been married a long time, we got this all worked out. Let me tell you something, you might as well keep the one you got because if you go get a new one, you're just gonna have to start all over. And if you keep the one you got, somewhere around about 30, 35 years, you finally just decide, "Hey, it ain't worth it. You do you". I mean, we just have the greatest relationship now. I do what I want to, he does what he wants to. We're just all happy as we can be.
Out of control and loving it, and I'm not talking about you being out of control and doing whatever you want to do. I'm talking about stop trying to control other people, and circumstances, and even sometimes God, and learn how to let go of that stress and you'll love it. There's two ways we can look at this, first of all, you don't want to let anybody control you. That's not God's will for your life. It's not good for them and it's not good for you. And you don't want to be trying to control other people.
The desire to control is rooted in selfishness. 1 Corinthians 13:4 and 5, "Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy or boast. It is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way". Say that with me. "Love does not insist on its own way". "It is not irritable and it is not resentful". Proverbs 13:10 says that, "Only by pride comes strife". You can't have strife unless there's a pride problem. Proverbs 16:5, "Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord," wow. "Be assured he will not go unpunished". Isaiah 2:11 and 12, "The haughty looks of man shall be brought low and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up, and it shall be brought low".
Good three people like that. The Bible says, "Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God that in due time he might exalt you". I started to say, "Insult you". But honestly and truly if you've been around long enough, you know God will give you an opportunity to humble yourself. But if you don't, he will do it for you usually publicly and it can be pretty painful. So, I highly recommend doing it yourself while you can do it in private. "You're right, God, I'm wrong, amen".
Now, it's also pride that causes us to feel that we must always give our opinion about things that are actually none of our business. Do you know there's three scriptures just as plain as they can be that tell us to mind our own business? So, how many of you kind of like to get into other people's business? Come on, I don't want one of these down here things. How many of you like, you know? Dave and I used to live next door to a single man that owned a big house, and we just couldn't figure out why this single guy wanted a house with four bedrooms in it. It's like, you know, what a waste of money. Now, keep in mind, we didn't even know this guy's first name. But one day we're driving out and Dave or I said, "Well, maybe he did it for an investment". Then the other one said, "Well, but he could have found a lot better investments than that 'cause he's gotta take care of this big place". And so, we spent maybe 10 minutes planning this guy's financial future and we didn't even know his name.
Can I tell you that in Romans 14 the Bible says that, "Every man will give an account of himself"? God's not gonna ask you about anybody else, not gonna ask you about your husband, not gonna ask you about your kids, your friends. He's gonna ask you about you. And another way we can keep a lot of stress out of our life, now come on, another way we can keep a lot of stress out of our life is just by staying out of other people's business. You don't even need to have an opinion where you don't have any responsibility, not even an opinion. "Well, I think, well, I think". Well, nobody cares what you think and nobody wants to know what you think. The only time we really should give an opinion is if it's asked for and then we need to do it carefully.
2 Thessalonians 3:11, "For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but being busybodies". 1 Thessalonians 4:11, "And to aspire to live quietly and to mind your own affairs and to work with your own hands". And 1 Peter 4:15, "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evildoer, or as a meddler". You know what I think's interesting about that? A meddler is in a list with murderer, thief, and evildoer. I just noticed it today I thought wow, those are heavy hitters. You know, most of us wouldn't think that being a little nosey was a problem. But I mean, it's right up there with a bunch of serious stuff.
Sometimes I have to say to myself, "Joyce, it's none of your business, it's none of your business, it's none of your business". Come on, anybody besides me ever have a problem with this? Now, this doesn't mean we never correct a person who's in sin or try to help them in any way, but there's a difference in genuinely trying to help somebody and trying to get into their business when you don't need to. Great example in John 21, beginning in verse 18. This is Jesus talking to Peter. "Truly, truly I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go".
So, he's giving Peter the head's up that things are gonna be a little more difficult for him in life now than they have been. And I don't think that he was talking about young in years. I think he was talking about when you were younger in the Lord. And, you know, when you're younger in the Lord, to be honest, you do pretty much just do what you want to do and pray for God to bless it. And a lot of times, he does, for a period of time because he's establishing a father/child loving relationship with you. But just like when our own children grow up, we don't want to have to keep taking care of them all the time. We want a transition to come at some point where they say, "Mom, dad, what can I do for you"? And so, Jesus is saying, "When you were young, you pretty much did what you wanted to but things are gonna change now and I'm gonna lead you into some things that may not be the most fun for you, but it's what I need".
And in verse 19 it says, "This he said to show by what kind of death he was going to glorify God". You know, Peter was crucified upside down on a cross. And then after saying that, he just said to him, "Follow me". Now, Peter just needed at that point to say, "Yes Lord". "But Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved," that happened to be John. John wrote the book of John and he referred to himself over and over as, "I am the disciple whom Jesus loved". Now, I know Peter's personality well enough to know that just got all over him. "You're the disciple whom Jesus loves".
I mean, you know, these were people just like we are. I mean, it's even a little bit aggravating to me to hear John say that, so I can imagine how Peter felt about it. And I mean, these guys had problems just like we would have problems if we were in a group. They were jealous of each other, they competed with each other, and I think that knowing Peter's personality, that he probably just had a hard time with all the ooey-gooey, you know, John laid on Jesus's breast at dinner and they just had this great loving relationship and, you know, Peter always wanted to run the show. So, he's gotten the bad news that things are gonna be a little hard for him toward the end. He sees John and he says, "When Peter saw him," he said, "Jesus, what about this man? What's gonna happen to him"? Well, you know, we're not really good at it if we're having a hard time and everybody else is having a good ole time. At least if we're gonna be miserable, we'd like some of our friends to be miserable with us. And Jesus said, verse 22, "If it's my will that he remains until I come, what is that to you? You follow me". So, Jesus just told Peter, "Mind your own business".
Now, think about it for a minute. We're having a problem. We've been having a problem for a long time. Maybe you're a single girl and you haven't had a date in 12 years. And your friend who's not nearly as attractive as you are in your opinion... she just can't beat the guys off with a stick. They're just after all the time. And so, you don't like it. And you love her with the love of the Lord, but you don't really like her. How many of you know about that, "I love you with the love of Lord, I can't stand you, but I love you with the love of the Lord," see. And all you have to do, you don't have to try to figure out why you haven't had a date and she has, you have to tell God how unfair it is. You just have to remember that God has a personalized, individualized, perfect plan for each one of us. And we might as well just quit looking at other people trying to figure out why we don't have what they have.
Pastors can get into the same thing, get jealous of another pastor because he's got a bigger church and you've got this and you've got that and yeah, yeah, yeah, you know? You know, anybody that's successful is always gonna have a certain amount of people that aren't gonna like him. You know why? Jealousy, just plain jealousy. So, I'm just gonna say it the sweetest, kindness, nicest way that I know how to. Mind your own business.
Third reason we may try to control people is because we're afraid of being taken advantage of. After being sexually abused by my father who was, did it all through control, manipulation and control, he didn't force me physically, but he forced me with fear. And my father controlled everything that went on in our house. What he wanted to watch on television is what you watched. You ate what he wanted to eat. You got up when he got up. You went to bed when he went to bed. And somewhere along the line in the middle of all that, I started making promises to myself when I get out of here, nobody is ever gonna tell me what to do again.
So, when you make those kind of vows to yourself, inner vows... then I married the first guy that came along and he was basically a con man and a thief. And so, he was always lying and manipulative. And so, by the time I went through my dad and my first husband, and then wonderful Dave came along, I took it all out on him. And so, when Dave would try to give me a little bit of advice or like Dave is very protective of me, and so he's always trying to tell me things to keep me from getting hurt. Like, how to get out of the bathtub and, you know, just stuff that I am like... See, I would take it like, "Why do you always have to try to tell me what to do"? But he really, he was trying to love me but because I had this stuff inside me from the past, I couldn't take it that way. I always took it like he was trying to control me and that really wasn't what he was trying to do at all.
And I'm sharing this because I believe many of you have been hurt in the past and you may be doing the same thing that I was doing. You may be now a couple husbands down the road and you can't keep blaming the new guy for everything that the old guys did. Come on. Because it's just not fair. It's just not fair to do that. And so, I had to actually come to a point where I repented for those inner vows that I made. "Nobody's ever gonna control me again. Nobody's ever gonna control me again". And I had to come full circle back to realizing that God establishes order everywhere you go and everywhere you go, you need to know who's in charge, who has the authority, and you need to be willing to come under that authority. And I'm up here preaching tonight, but this is Joel's house and so he's sitting down there, but he's really the one in control because if he told me not to do something, then I better not do it. And we need to be willing to come under authority.
Now listen to me, we have so much rebellion in the world today. It is unbelievable how rebellious people are. And the Bible says that rebellion is the spirit of Antichrist, and we need to be very careful about this attitude that's creeping up on everybody that "Nobody's gonna tell me what to do. I'm gonna do what I please". When God establishes order, it's no so one person can control another, but it's so you can have peace. Everybody obviously can't be in charge. Somebody has to always be the person that calls the final shots in everything. That person also is the one with the responsibility. Now, probably none of you have any problem coming under authority, do you? You know what? You have no business ever being in authority if you don't know how to come under authority.
I worked for a man for a long time that was not very easy to work with, and he wasn't very fair in a lot of ways. And God used that situation to teach me how to be submissive with a decent attitude even with somebody that I really didn't agree with, but I learned so much out of that experience. You know, sometimes everything you learn is not pleasant. Like from being mistreated, I learned not to mistreat people because I knew how it felt from having it done to me. If you have a leadership personality, see yourself as a leader, not a boss because if you say, "I'm the boss," then you're gonna be bossy. But if you see yourself as a leader, then you'll know that means that you have to set a good example for people, not just be telling them what they need to be, but leading them by example into what they need to be.
So, we may try to control because we're afraid of being taken advantage of or the fourth thing is, we may try to control people just because we've got a strong temperament and our temperament, the temperament that God gives us, does play into things. I've been listening to a man named Martyn Lloyd-Jones who they say was probably the best Bible teacher of this century and he's just really a very good Bible teacher. And he interestingly enough, from that era, you wouldn't think that you'd hear people talk about this, but he talks a lot about how our temperament plays into the way that we handle things. And he said like some people are just never gonna be as cheery as some other people. You know, some people, they just have a deeper, more melancholy personality, and they would be more inclined toward getting depressed, you know, where other people, they just can like bubble through life every single day and everything's a big joke to them. You know, Dave gets up in the morning and he gets up singing, and I just don't even want to talk to or see a human until I have my coffee, amen? It's like the only person that I can stand to talk to that time of the morning is Jesus. But if you give me about an hour, I'll be okay.
So, if you have a strong personalty, you have to be careful that you're balanced with it, that you're not trying to tell everybody in the world what to do. Know when you're in control and when you need to come under control, amen? Now, there is only one thing in your life that God has told you to control and that is yourself. So, instead of trying to control everybody else, we need to use more self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control". So, don't ever say again, "I just don't have any self-control". You may not be using it, but you have it. And the more you use it, the easier it will be to use it. Paul said, "Every athlete exercises self-control in all things," and they do. A good athlete, I mean they observe a bedtime. They exercise. They eat certain ways. They, you know, and he says, "They do it to win a wreath that is perishable".
So, you think about what some of these sports people do or like a bodybuilder, what they go through trying to train just to stand on a stage and show off their muscles. And or like to get a wreath of flowers, or a ribbon, or a trophy. They do all that just for that but he says, "We're doing it for a reward that is imperishable". So, if they're willing to discipline themselves to that degree just to win something that's already in the process of rotting when they take it home, how much more should we be willing to control ourselves in order to have what God has promised us, which is eternal life with him?
So, two scriptures, both in 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 9:25 through 27. "Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So, I do not run aimlessly. I do not box as one beating the air, but I discipline my body and I keep it under control, lest after preaching to others, I myself should be disqualified". Well, the amplified Bible says, "But I buffet my body," however I think we misread that for a long time when we thought it said, "I buffet my body". "Right here Paul says, 'I buffet my body.'" same spelling, different pronunciation.
1 Corinthians 6:12, "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful". All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything. I won't let sugar control me. I won't let drugs control me. I won't let alcohol control me. I'm not gonna let people control me. Come on now. I'm not gonna let an eating disorder control me. We don't realize sometimes how powerful we are with God on our side. I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength that I need.