Victoria Osteen - Develop Self-Control To Rise Higher With God
How many of you are making some decisions or plans on what you wanna achieve for 2017? Amen. Setting some goals, maybe you're gonna break some habits, change a few things around. You know, you're excited, something is stirring in your spirit. You're thinking, "I can do this. This is great. This is a possibility", you know? However you answered that question, you know what that is you're feeling on the inside? It's your potential. It's what you're capable of. It's not what you've already accomplished, but it's what you can accomplish. You see, inside of each one of us is great potential. God has put it on the inside of us. We have the capacity to produce more than we're producing right now.
We can all go to new levels with God. We can all walk in a greater anointing. We can all do more for God. I'm really safe to say that we all have this capacity to do more. We have more inside of us, but how do we get what's in us out of us? By self-discipline and self-control. Joel prays it over us every week in the service. He prays that we will have focus, discipline, self-control. As we all stand with our arms up, we receive it because we know we need it. We need it if we're gonna develop the potential on the inside of us. You see, when we have strong discipline and self-control, it builds our inner man. And when you have a strong inner man, you can produce a strong outer man. We all can have it because it's a Fruit of the Spirit.
Discipline and self-control is a characteristic of God, and we're supposed to be more like God. We're supposed to go after the things of God. God said, "You can have this because I've already given it to you". You just have to develop it. You have to exercise it so that that potential that's in you can come out. You see, discipline and self-control puts a demand on our inner man. As simple as that. It puts a demand and a strain on our inner man, you know? It's just like exercise. If you don't put a demand on your muscle, they won't grow. Discipline and self-control puts a demand on that inner men, causes it to be strong.
Listen to what it says in Proverbs 25:8. It says, "Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city with broken down walls". You see, in those days walls represented strength. Behind those strong walls were people that were protected. You see, when the enemy saw a city with strong walls, with its gates closed, it was not able to enter into that city and harm the people, because it was difficult to get in, because the people even had made sure those walls were strong. They participated in keeping the walls strong, and those boundaries didn't leave them exposed. And see, today your self-discipline, your self-control, when you exercise that, it represents strength in your life. It doesn't leave you exposed to all the enemy's tactics, all the temptations, all the way he wants to get you off course.
See, when you rule over your spirit, which is your inner man making the decisions, you are strong. You can resist. The enemy can't just come in and do what he wants to do, because you've erected some walls in your life. You see, Paul calls it the flesh. See, the flesh wants to make all the decisions. The flesh wants to tell you what's good. It wants to run wild. It doesn't wanna be under control. It wants no boundaries. See, the flesh wants to rule you. That's your feelings, your emotions, your thought life. It wants to rule you. It doesn't want to be under control of the spirit man.
See, that's where the conflict comes in. You've got your spirit man, and you've got your flesh, and there is this struggle. But you have to say, "No, I'm not gonna let the flesh run wild, but I'm gonna put it under control with my strong spirit man". See, the flesh will eat three bowls of ice cream. The flesh will spend money you don't have. The flesh is easily offended. The flesh will say what it wants to and cause an argument. The flesh is lazy. It wants you to believe that self-control and discipline are a bad thing. It's a negative in your life. I want you to say this, "Oh, have to be disciplined today. This is what I can't do. This is what I can't eat. This is what I can't spend". See, that's what the flesh wants you to think: it's a bad thing. But can I tell you that discipline and self-control are not our enemies, but they're our weapons. They're the tools God gave us to succeed and to reach this full potential.
See, discipline should say this, "I'm not gonna sit on the couch all day and watch TV. I'm a productive person. I'm gonna get with it. I'm gonna get busy". The spirit says this, "I'm budgeting my money because I've got goals. I've got some things I'm gonna do in this life. I'm gonna reach my goals. I'm not gonna live at a deficit all the time, but I'm gonna live in an overflow state. So I'm not gonna run out and spend everything that my eyes see. I am self-controlled". See, the flesh wants you to eat everything. It wants you to not take care of your temple, but discipline says, "Listen, this is my body. This is what God gave me. I'm gonna put good stuff in. I'm gonna rest. I'm gonna take care of my body. I'm gonna exercise. This is what's getting me around, and I want it to look good and I want to feel good in it", right?
Listen, if you had a rolls Royce, you wouldn't put the cheapest gas you could find in it. Can I tell you you're driving around in a pretty darn good-looking vehicle? You need to put the good stuff in. Self-control. Discipline is not your enemy. It's your friend. Everytime you choose discipline and self-control, you know what you're saying? No to the enemy. "No, you can't have your way in my life". You're building those walls. You're becoming strong, fortified. You're not just letting any old thing have its way in your life. We have to change our mindsets. We have to think at a higher capacity. See, self-control is a gift from the spirit.
Now, can I tell you some people can discipline themselves better than others? You know we've got all kinds of dispositions and personalities, and some people may find it easier. Some people may find it a little more difficult. You may have to really identify some things, but let me tell you if you are easily disciplined, and you are easy at that, there's eight other fruits of the spirit you might need to check into: patience, kindness, goodness. There's always some potential call it out to you. There's always gonna be a demand on your inner strength. Listen to what it says in Hebrews 12:11. It says, "No discipline at the time seems pleasant, but later on it will produce a great harvest of righteousness". Discipline produces a harvest in your life. It does something for you. It's your friend.
See, we need to think more about the later on. Your flesh, your feelings, wants to tell you about the right now. It doesn't wanna tell you about the later on. It wants to tell you what's gonna feel good right now, what's easy right now, the easy way out right now. But see, your potential is saying, "Step back and think about the later on. How do you wanna feel later on"? The flesh always gives temporary pleasure. It always talks to you about the temporary, but discipline talks to you about the eternal, the important things in life. Can I encourage every one of us that you've got great treasure on the inside of you? 2017 is gonna be your year.
You have discipline and self-control. It's a Fruit of the Spirit. You just got it, exercise it. Let it put a demand on your inner strength and your inner man. Some of you may need to just identify a couple areas, you know? It's difficult to fix everything at once, right? But when we identify an area or two that we realize maybe need to be built up, maybe need to be strengthened, maybe you just need to close some gates, maybe you need to get out of some things that you have no business being in. Let go of the few people that are breaking down your walls, breaking down your inner strength. See, maybe you just need to identify and ask God, "God, help me". He wants to walk with you. He wants to help you focus on it and let that self-control and discipline bring a great harvest in your life, amen? Amen.