Peace of Mind Part 4 - Restrain Your Heart
Anyone who enjoys fast driving on a jet ski knows that the faster you go, the harder it is to control your vehicle. If a skier is really zooming and catches glimpse of an obstacle ahead, the wise response would be to slow down to keep control of the turn. This illustrates what God means when we are to let our moderation be known unto all man.
Moderation is a test of your character. It is a willingness to say "no" to yourself despite how you feel. When we allow our emotions to dictate our reaction to problems, odds are we'll choose the wrong response. Worry, anger, or fear will trample our peace of mind without the restraint of the Spirit of God. This, in part, is why Paul urges readers to "walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh."
Moderation is testimony for others. While many of us would rather not care what others think, this verse shatters that thinking. A core essential to Christian faith is influencing others. General Douglas MacArther understood the power of influence in leadership in World War I. In France, he gave a battalion commander special orders before daring the charge. "Major, when the signal comes to go over the top, I want you to go first, before your men. If you do, they'll follow." According to accounts, MacArther then placed the Distinguished Service Cross from his own uniform to the commander's. As one writer said, "He had, in effect, awarded him for heroism before asking him to exhibit it." What were the followers' response when they saw their commander lead the charge? They followed behind. They accomplished their goal (Maxwell, 121).
When we choose to keep under the Spirit of God in difficult circumstances, those watching are motivated to do the same. Remember our first principle, Resolve to Stand? We mentioned how in Philippians 3:17 Paul commanded that we watch those who have a good testimony in . Your testimony can be a lighthouse, helping a storm-driven Christian navigate through his own storm.
Moderation is a work of God. Understanding that the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, we know that no human ability is very weak. Only God, who searches and tries the heart, is capable of keeping it under the control of the Holy Spirit.
The ending sentence, "The Lord is at hand," is both a challenge and an encouragement. Because Christ could come at any moment, we ought to reflect a temperate spirit in the midst of difficulty. However, we are not alone! God is near and willing to tame our radioactive attitudes when we submit them to His sovereign rule.
You cannot experience peace without proper control of your heart. That control is a test of testimony and a matter of character. Others are watching and only God can do the work. Keep your heart in check because others look to you as an example. Give your heart to God because His coming is nigh, and He is an ever-present help in time of need.
Where to go from here?
1. Confess any negative responses you have shown in your current difficulties. Are you harboring bitterness? Are you taking it out on others? Whatever it is, get it out in the open with God and with those you have wronged.
2. On a regular basis, pray for the Holy Spirit to help you respond like Christ to your situations. Admit to God that you are incapable of keeping control of your peace and that you are depending solely upon His strength and grace.
3.. Do a character study on those who have endured tough storms in the Scriptures. What was Job's response when he lost everything? What was David's response when He lost his child? What was Paul's response when God denied his request in 2 Corinthians 9? Allow the testimonies of faith heroes to motivate you to press onward.
4. Identify the people in your life affected by your testimony. These would include your family, friends, coworkers, and even neighbors. If you allow yourself to lose restraint, what are the consequences? What are the possible outcomes if you submit to the Spirit of God?
- Maxwell, John C. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.