Our society at large, and even our Church, is suffering from a lack of holiness. Satan is on the attack to destroy families, the Church, and countless lives. He is using sinful desires of the heart to enslave us. Collectively, we are suffering from heart disease. St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians speaks clearly on this matter.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh…Now the works of the flesh are plain: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:16, 19-21
Jesus is the only answer to the problems facing our world today. We need Jesus. He is our only hope. God will sanctify us through the power of the Holy Spirit to become the person He created us to be. We need to submit our entire lives, everything, to His Lordship. We need to follow His commands. We need to be obedient to His Word. God honors those who honor Him. We all need to redouble our efforts in making our relationship with God the number one priority in our lives. Only in doing so, will our lives produce good and abundant fruit.
For you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6
Self-control is the cornerstone for improving spiritual health. It involves giving selfish desires over to God so that He may purify them. Self-control requires that we master our minds so as to align it with the will of the Father. It involves a denying of self to obtain a better good. Scripture reading and prayer are two spiritual exercises that require giving up leisure time to spend time with the Lord. Many are given over to spending mindless hours on social media, watching TV, or just relaxing when that time could be better spent in conversation with God.
The pleasures of this life are fleeting but spending time with the Lord will bring eternal rewards. Turn off the computer, cell phone, and TV. Find a quiet place to read Scripture, asking the Holy Spirit to show you what God wants to reveal to you in His Word. When a verse resonates with you, stop reading and contemplate those words. This is God speaking to you through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Listen to what He is saying to you. See how the passage you just read relates to your current situation. Ask God to help you in living out His commands. Soften your heart towards God and He will teach you great and numerous things.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:22-24
Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit. It is a gift from God, available to anyone who approaches God with a humble and contrite heart (1 Peter 5:5). Self-control requires a dying to self. Christ is the example of self-control in the midst of severe emotional and physical suffering. He is with us, giving us the strength we need to overcome selfish wants and desires. Great joy will be found in giving your life for the good of another. The unhappiest people are those who use others for their own selfish wants and desires. This is a trap of Satan to steal our righteousness and joy.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature. For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-8
God’s divine power will give you everything you need for life. Through your holiness you are participating in God’s divine nature. Your effectiveness as a spouse and parent depend upon gaining more of these qualities. Ask God to fill your cup to overflowing with these blessings. May He bless you so that you, in turn, may be a blessing to your loved ones. The world is so in need of holy men and women, showing the joy of a life centered on the source of life, Jesus Christ.
May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24