“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control.” (2 Timothy 3: 1-3a – emphasis mine)
Good morning prayer warriors. We live in an age where the culture encourages - almost demands that we give in to our feelings. In 2 Samuel 13 (a veritable field day for Satan), Amnon lusted after his sister Tamar and that feeling was so strong that it was making him sick. In modern terminology, he was addicted to the feeling he had for Tamar. So, he gave in to it and raped her which, in turn, led to a series of horrible, terrible, no good, very bad consequences for David’s house. But he just couldn’t help it, right?
That is what the world is telling us. You can’t help it! You were just acting on your feelings! You were made this way, (or worse) God made you this way. In the canon of popular music, phrases such as, “I can’t fight this feeling anymore,” and “How can it be wrong, when it feels so right?” teach us that we are just slaves to our feelings; that our feelings are “Lord.” We pass out condoms in our schools because “they just can’t help it!”
And yet, the last in Paul’s list of 9 gifts of the Spirit is SELF-CONTROL! (Gal. 5:22-23) What that last item is doing is pointing back to the works of the flesh in the previous (bad) list. In verse 18 the first five items on the list are “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, and idolatry (Yes, sexual sins are a form of idolatry!). Paul goes on to say that “those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Have we, even in the church, abandoned self-control as a fruit of the Spirit? How can the 68% of Christian men and 50% of pastors who view porn regularly possibly think they are living in the Spirit? That begs this final question: When was the last time your flesh (read “feelings”) were crucified? My prayer today is that we would live as slaves to Christ and His Spirit.