Going to attack a couple more of these things today…
3. Exercise Self-Control – the word “self-control” means to control or restraint oneself or one’s actions, feelings, etc. This is one of the fruits of the spirit spoken about in the book of Galatians”
This is probably one of the greatest things I’ve learned this year. For most of my life I tried to obtain self-control and it was always in public, the “appearance of self-control” while in my private life, inner thoughts, just me time I would feed my flesh with things that nobody knew about. I thought it was OK as long as it hurt no one around me, nobody knew about it there was no harm. Actually I think I believed that this is how men lived their lives. My father taught me at a very young age that men are different with other men than with family, wife, kids etc….they acted different, talked different, did things that were “men” things. I am not blaming my father for my actions, it’s how I took it and how it affected me in my life. I made my own choices.
A man living in the flesh, not a born again, spirit filled man, this makes sense, you do what you can to keep your private thoughts and desires private. Now most (I think) grow up and mature and learn to live a decent life without secrets…I don’t know, I’m assuming this. Anyways for me I can excuse my behavior because it was all I knew at the time. BUT when I found the Lord, when I was filled with the Spirit and when I was being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit day by day — when I proclaimed to be a “new man” I should have laid all of that at the altar, I should have been an open book with my life WITH THE LORD! The funny thing is He knew, He knows, and yet he allowed me to be stupid — free choice!! free will!!
Here is what I’ve learned this year that has changed my life! GOD SEE’S ALL and KNOWS ALL about me, I cannot “get away” with anything. My flesh stinks, I cannot be trusted with my life, I am a SINNER, I am selfish, I am arrogant, I am proud, I am deceitful, I cannot be trusted. And that my friends is a GREAT FREEING WAY to live!! So I may as well live my life openly. Today I get up every morning and lay my life before Him, I let him know, I can’t do this today without him. I can’t be a good father, husband, employee, grandfather, servant, leader, etc etc etc without HIM!! I die to my flesh each day, I can’t do that in my flesh, I can’t hide my prideful attitude, I can’t hide my deceitful ways, I can’t love my wife and my family — all I care about in my flesh is ME!!!
So, today I am walking in “self-control” through the power of the Holy Spirit — without Him I will just let you down, hurt you and walk all over you trying to get my needs met. NO WAY TO LIVE!!! I am happy for the first time in a long time, I am clean with nothing I need to hide. I praise Him!!
4. Have a good reputation – hahaha I have NO reputation today!!! Before my public fall did I have a good reputations? NO!!!! I just hid from those who had things against me!! There are always some who mis-judge and try to ruin your reputation and that happened and boy when it did I FOUGHT, talked bad about them, become judgmental and felt I was in the right doing so. Where was the humility? When one is guilty of things, they all the more voice tress in it!! Go into big defense mode!! Horrible!!!
There was a long list of people that had ought against me that ruined my reputation as a “man of God” — MANY!! But I fought, tried to make them look bad and wrong and moved on surrounding myself with people that like me and respected me. EWWWWW
So, the thing Paul is talking about is even before one becomes an “elder” – do they have a good reputation? We are to be tested and we need to pass the test. How do you do that? How do you test ones reputation? That is a good question and I really don’t know the answer to it. If I was asked to being in people to answer questions about me I had plenty of people that would TALK it up of what a great man I was, how much honor I had blah blah blah…. So I really don’t know the answer to this, BUT I would say the closest I could come would be through the mans/woman’s family, spouse etc…. my wife knew my secrets and my deception with the hopes of me changing one day. She knew that I loved the Lord and tried to do the best thing for me and the church. I think she would do it differently today. I have sat on committee’s that “test” men and women preparing them for ministry and I would say every time a man or a woman feel out of grace in ministry the spouse and family members knew about it and just buried it. OUCH OUCH OUCH —
All of this I’m writing does not mean I wasn’t real – that my experiences were faked, my life was a fake, my ministry was a fake — I was flawed and God cares more about MY HEART and MY SALVATION than he does about my reputation!!! So it came to this and I praise HIM.
Well, there is 2 more of the LONG list – more to come