How to Discipline Your Flesh As a Christian
The Bible says that "he who the son sets free is free indeed," but we can't really be free until we learn to discipline ourselves. One of the most important fruits of the Holy Spirit is self-control. If we can learn to discipline ourselves and have self-control, then we can have the kind of freedom that Jesus died for us to have.
Be trained as explained:"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11).
Put to death the lusts of the flesh.The Bible uses the term "the flesh" to refer to the tendency to sin. Innate sin nature passed down to us from Adam and Eve is referred to as the flesh. The flesh is always at war with the Holy Spirit within us. The flesh wants to do what is bad, and the Holy Spirit in your spirit wants to do what is good.
- Live out your higher calling: "If you live according to the flesh, you will die; but, if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live." (Romans 8:13). Also Colossians 3:5 says, "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry." Self discipline has to be active and continually done. This is not automatically done for us when we put our faith in Christ.
- "The righteousness of Christ" now covers us, as in that is how God now sees us, but we do not become righteous the moment we get saved. Paul says "Not that I have already obtained all this or have already been made perfect, but I press on toward the goal..." We receive the Holy Spirit when we put our faith in Jesus, who then guides us and helps us to put our flesh to death, but it is a partnering effort. We work at putting to death the fleshly lusts, and the Holy Spirit helps us.
Learn to love self-control.It seem like every person alive has an addiction to something. For some it's food and over eating, for others it's watching TV constantly, for others it's being workaholic, etc. The trick is to learn when you have reached your limit in any of these things. Learn to exercise self-control.
- Learn to stop eating when you feel full. Learn to turn the TV off when you feel you have wasted enough hours of the day doing nothing. Learn to rest when you feel tired, and do not overwork yourself.
- If we don't stop when we have hit what we know is a limit, the Holy Spirit will convict us. We can try to quench the Holy Spirit, as in ignore his promptings and convictions, but then we will only feel miserable. Paul says in 1 Cor. 6:12, "'I have the right to do anything,' you say--but not everything is beneficial. 'I have the right to do anything'--but I will not be mastered by anything." Don't let grace be an excuse for license, or you will become enslaved and mastered by sin once again.
Keep the focus on yourself rather than on the behavior of others.So often times, in order to distract ourselves from our own problems, we will judge and criticize others. This is merely a way of deflecting. We don't want the light shining on ourselves so we shine it on others. Or we attack them for something before they have the chance to attack us. But instead, we need to look inward at our own inner life.
- The Bible says, "Judge not lest ye be judged." You may think that you are distracting the other person from seeing your own sin, but eventually, they will judge you and shine the light on you in return. What goes around comes around. If you are gracious with others, they will be gracious with you. But if you judge them, they will eventually judge you too.
- Plus you need to focus on how you need to be a better person rather than thinking how they need to be a better person. And you can't change them anyway; the one and only person you can change is yourself.
Deny yourself, and keep improving as Jesus said:"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Learn to say no to yourself. The essence of self-control is being able to say no to yourself. You may have a craving or you may be tempted to do something, but success in the area of self-control is when you can tell yourself no. To not give into every whim or thought or temptation, that is true self-control.
- In order to reach this level of self-control, you have to discipline your flesh, and deny yourself of whatever you might want. It helps to see the reality that your flesh always wants what is bad for you. "If you live according to the flesh, you will die" Paul said. So know that any bad habits and lusts of your flesh will eventually harm or kill you, or will at least lead to a shorter life.
- Over eating will most likely lead to diabetes, heart trouble, and many other health problems. Watching too much TV may lead to a lack of intelligent interests and can cause relationship avoidance, issues of avoiding real life. Working too much will lead you to be over-stressed and may even cause you a nervous breakdown. Realize that your flesh is set against you, because Satan is in control of your flesh, but know that following God and the Holy Spirit will bring you "life and peace."
Keep the end goal in sight.Jesus said in John 12:24, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but, if it dies, it bears much fruit." A person might diet and die to himself/herself in order to get a better body, but what about your soul? What about the fruitfulness of our hearts?
- Jesus said unless you, being the grain of wheat, die, as in die to yourself, then you will produce no fruit. Your life won't have any meaning. You won't be helping anyone. But, if you can learn to die to yourself, to discipline your flesh, then maybe you can help Jesus change the world. Then maybe your life will have meaning, purpose and significance. To live for yourself alone will only make you miserable, but to live for, and love others, will bring more joy to your life than you can even imagine.
Understand the necessity of self-discipline and self-control.Jesus said in Mt. 10:38, "Whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me." To call yourself a Christian means that you are willing to die to yourself. It means that it is no longer all about you; it is now all about Jesus.
- Jesus said that unless you are willing to die to yourself, you are not worthy of him. Paul repeatedly says that we are to "walk in a manner worthy of our calling." Our worthiness does not save us. The Bible says that "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." But, if we are truly saved, we will live in a worthy manner. Our lives will show evidence that we really are born again. We will be an entirely new creation; the old will be gone, and the new will have come.
- Christians still fall into sin from time to time, but sin should not be allowed to be habitual or as your lifestyle. Sin should not be able to dominate you and control you as it once did, because Jesus has set you free. Jesus said that many will say to him on that day that they are real Christians, but he will tell them "I never knew you." Thinking we are saved is not enough, we have to act like it, and follow Jesus. Love one another. "Show me your faith without (good) deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." Amen.
QuestionHow can I hear the Holy Spirit and act on it for self control and discipline?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhen you listen to the Holy Spirit, it grants you with the beautiful gift on conscience. You can feel it in your gut, and then you know what is the right decision. For discipline, remember that what you do now affects what happens to you later, so make good decisions now.Thanks!
QuestionHow do you see or feel the Holy Spirit?WikihowImpacter1233Community AnswerYou cannot see or feel the Holy Spirit physically; however, if you strengthen your faith with God, you may be able to have religious experiences and see God. This can also happen with people who are not religious.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is disciplining your flesh?Community AnswerThis means cultivating the strength to resist temptations, such as overeating, drugs, or carnal activities.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get rid of ungodly thoughts that come up in my mind but that I don't want?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDon't force yourself to not think them, let yourself think about them and slowly let it fade from your mind. Or just think of something else to distract you.Thanks!
QuestionAre Christians allowed to have tattoos?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. The Bible clearly forbids the marking of one's body.Thanks!
QuestionwikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
- If you are able to attain to a relatively high level of self-control, don't let it make you arrogant. Know that any self-control you are able to have is only by the grace and empowerment of God. "Every good and perfect gift" is from God.
- Don't work out of your strength alone to become self-controlled. Always pray for God's help while you are trying to gain control over yourself. Don't expect God to do everything for you, but don't try to do everything by yourself either. Work together with God's Holy spirit in you toward the goal of self-control.
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