Surrender Control – BT1: It really is all about control – Your’s or God’s?
Surrender Control – BT1: It really is all about control – Your’s or God’s
Please follow the BLOG Etiquette to stay on topic and pass the moderator’s check. Bold, underlined text below = future links to the BLOG pages.
The great battle is between our self-control/mastery and the Lord’s. It’s whether we will “be the captain of our own ship” to go about “doing it my way” as Frank Sinatra, or if Jesus will be! The Greek New Testament noun egkrateia, verb egkrateuomai, and adjective egkrates mean “dominion exercised from within ourselves, not by others, so it’s often translated as self-control, self-restraint, self-mastery, or continence.” It’s only used positively 1 time in the NT concerning the natural man and that’s in 1 Corinthians 9:25 concerning the Greek Olympic Games: “Each competitor must exercise self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.” The athletes controlled their diet, sleep, exercise, and were to abstain from sex. Paul admired this drive! But He knew most men all too well. In 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 his advice to “the unmarried and widows is to remain as I am [single]. But if they don’t have self-control, let them get married, for it is better to marry than to burn [with sexual desire].” We will return later to the 1 positive use of this word in the NT, but let’s look at the general aspect of “dominion exercised from within” ourselves.
For the natural man or a fleshly Christian, the “dominion within ourselves” is the dominion of man’s naturally-enabling “power” of Zechariah 4:6’s “might and power.” Regarding this “power,” the Hebrew koach and Greek ischus refer in context to man’s “endowed, already-possessed, ‘held-onto,’ combat-ready power that stays or ‘holds on,’ which is thus an internal capacity of firmness, vigor, strength, might, ability, efficiency, force, and power or control over external things.” Can you see how all these words mean essentially the same thing? Let’s see how the NT uses this idea.
The Greek noun ischus isn’t used as much in the NT. Three times it’s used by Jesus, once quoting the Old Testament, in responding to a trick question from a Jewish scribe, about unconditionally-loving God with all your ischus inner power, and in the cunning scribe reply (a). 2 Peter 2:11 speaks of the ischus inner power of angels. Revelation 5:12, 7:12 and 2 Thessalonians 1:9 use this word to describe this glorious ischus inner power of the Lord, but we are to be strengthened by His ischus inner power (b), and that the Father’s incomparable greatness of external dunamis dynamite-like enabling-power toward us who believe that is displayed in the exercise of His immense ischus inner power (c) – that’s God’s solution to man’s “might and power” in Zechariah 4:6 for the completely-different-in-kind New Covenant. <Notes> a) Mark 12:30, 33; Luke 10:27, b) Ephesians 6:10, c) Ephesians 1:19.
Finally 1 Peter 4:11 regarding the exercising of the Spirit’s grace-gifts advises: “If anyone speaks [using their Spirit’s grace-gift before others in the Christian assembly], [routinely/habitually be serving/ministering towards-and-reaching-the-goal/purpose of’ each-other] do-it-in-the-way-of oracles of God (a). Whoever [physically] serves/ministers, do-it-in-the-way-of out-from [singular] inner power that God supplies, so that in everything [that you do in the assembly] God will be glorified through Jesus Christ.” <Notes> a) logion: uttered prophetic messages of the directly-spoken/heard prophetic rhema words of God – see Coaches and Facilitators, Prophetic Rhema, Teach One Another, and Might & Power pages.
The corresponding Greek verb ischuo for “inwardly-powerfully-enabled-to-do, perform, or accomplish” isn’t used that much either in the NT. Often it is used negatively for man’s absolute-in-fact inability to accomplish some task. The Pharisees absolutely in fact couldn’t reply to Jesus’ accusations or trap Him (a), just as the Jews weren’t able to prove their case against Paul (b). Jesus warned people who wanted to follow Him as a disciple that if they weren’t “all in” by “carrying their cross,” they would be like people who want to build a tower without first computing the cost to see if they had enough money to complete it, so with an unfinished tower they would be laughed at, saying: “This man began to build but was not inwardly-powerfully-enabled-to-do it unto completion” (c). <Notes> a) Luke 14:5, 20:26, b) Acts 25:7, c) Luke 14:27-30,
Jesus warned: “Exert every effort to enter [the kingdom] through the narrow door, because a multitude, I tell you, will try to enter and/coupled shall actually absolutely-in-fact-NOT be inwardly-powerfully-enabled-to-do this” (a). Can you believe that Jesus asked His disciples 3 times to stay awake and “watch in proseuche conversational-prayer” with Him for 1 hour and 3 times they fell asleep? He said, “What’s this? You could absolutely-in-fact-NOT be inwardly-powerfully-enabled-to-do be watching with Me for one hour” (b)? Jesus spoke often of the “inherent weakness, feebleness, impotence, worthlessness, uselessness, and failure of the sarx flesh” (c). <Notes> a) Luke 14:5, 20:26, b) Acts 25:7, c) Luke 14:27-30, a) Luke 13:24, g) Matthew 26:40; Mark 14:37, c) Matthew 26:41; John 6:63.
But if Christians turn back from NT unconditional-loving-favor-of-grace to the OT Torah Law of conditional-favor, we will quickly loose our ishus inner power. The problem with legalistic Christianity is that the old covenant Law is a “yoke/harness [of slavery] upon the necks of the disciples which neither our forefathers nor we (apostles) were inwardly-powerfully-enabled-to-do to bear” (a). Jesus gives a warning to Christians who disconnect from the Holy Spirit of Christ (b) and try to do it on their own: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt becomes flavorless, how can it be made salty again? Henceforth it absolutely in fact is inwardly-powerfully-enabled–to-do for NO thing but to be cast out [onto the roads or fields] to be trodden under foot by men.” <Notes> a) Acts 15:10, b) John 15:1-11.
Now look at the powerful effect of the Lord’s Spirit! Jesus said in Luke 6:47-48, “Everyone who comes to Me and/then akouo listens to understand/know My [gospel] logos messages and/coupled routinely/habitually does them, I will show you what he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep, and laid the foundation on petra bedrock. When a flood came, the river burst against the house, but it was absolutely-in-fact-NOT ischuo inwardly-powerfully-enabled-to-do shaking it, for it was founded upon a petra bedrock.” Jesus is often referred to as the Petra Bedrock that the Church is built on (a). It’s sure not Peter (b), contrary to what the Catholic Church believes – see The Great Wall quenching the Spirit in the Church. <Notes> a) Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 2:8; Romans 9:33, b) petros means little inconsequential stone.
The gospel logos message of The Truth is that the Holy Spirit is now our externally-produced dunamis dynamite-like’ enabling-power that NOW lives within us as Christians! Paul testified in Philippians 4:13 that he “can be ischuo inwardly-powerfully-enabled-to-do all things through the One who is routinely/habitually dunamis empowering me.” After the burning of the witchcraft books, Acts 19:20 says: “In this way the [gospel] logos message of the Lord continued to grow in kratos manifested-might and/thus was continually ischuo inwardly-powerfully-enabled-to-do [the] doing (thus to avail).” Concerning the irrelevancy of the Torah Law of conditional-favor based on obedience to commandments, Paul says in Galatians 5:6 “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision nor uncircumcision actually, ongoingly is ischuo inwardly-powerfully-enabled-to-do [the] doing (thus to avail) but-instead [what does have all this ability to avail is] trusting-relying-faith (a) thru-the-realizing-channel-of unconditional-love routinely/habitually working.” James 5:16 promises that “the effectual fervent supplication (b) of a righteous man actually, ongoingly, is ischuo inwardly-powerfully-enabled-to-do [the] doing (thus to avail) much.” <Notes> a) pistis: relational conviction of trusting reliance, b) deesis.
Now let’s return to the 1 positive use of egkrateia, verb egkrateuomai, and adjective egkrates in the NT regarding the natural man, as it means “dominion exercised from within ourselves, thus self-control, self-restraint, self-mastery, or continence.” Because the New Covenant is completely different-in-kind by definition (c) and context, it’s no wonder that these 3 Greek words are used almost exclusively of the self-control/master of the Holy Spirit, described as a “flavor” of the [singular] fruit (a) of the Holy Spirit who is Unconditional-Love (b). <Notes> a) karpos: essence or nature, b) Galatians 5:22-23, c) chadash, kainos: fresh, completely different-in-kind, unprecedented, sharing nothing with its predecessors, unique, and superior.
So in Titus 1:8 when Paul talks about the qualifications of elders, overseers/bishops, or shepherds/pastors (a) being “self-controlled,” He is primarily talking about the Spirit’s character “exercising mastery within” them, dwelling within their body as a temple of God to control their humanly passions (b). When 2 Peter 1:4 talks about “becoming koinonia partakers of the divine nature after escaping the worldly corruption that is produced through craving/lust,” he advises Christians who are spiritually “connected to the Vine of Christ” (c) “for this very reason to make every effort to add to their trusting-relying-faith . . . self-control/master . . . and finally unconditional-love. For if these things are really yours and are continually increasing, they will keep you from becoming ineffective and/coupled unproductive in the genuine, experiential, relational epignosis knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” These are all supernatural abilities accomplished by-the-means-of-the Spirit as we continue in this special kind of relational knowledge of God. <Notes> a) all the same group of men – see Body Ministry-BT2, b) 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, c) John 15:1-11.
However, negatively in Acts 24:25 Paul often spoke of righteousness, [the lack of] self-control/mastery, and/thus the coming judgment, which definitely frightens some! That is exactly the gospel logos message of The Truth as Jesus explains in John 16:7-11: “When the Holy Spirit comes after I go away [at Pentecost], He will convict the [unbelieving] world (a) of sin (b) and/coupled righteousness (c) and/coupled judgment (d).” <Notes> a) kosmos in context are unbelievers, not Christians who are not of this world anymore than Christ is, b) “because they don’t believe in Me,” sin results because of the lack of self-control, c) “because I am leaving” – Jesus, the Holy and Righteous One, was leaving – Acts 3:14; Jeremiah 23:6, 33:16, d) “because the ruler of this unbelieving world is judged,” which means the unbelieving world with him – John 3:18.
There simply must be a divine exchange/propitiation of our lack of self-control/mastery, which results in our sin and unrighteousness and the Day of Judgment to come. There must me a divine exchange/propitiation of all our failure for the self-control/mastery of Jesus Christ successfully accomplished on the cross – perfect obedience to the end! And this exchange occurs in the repentant surrender of public confession at yout water-baptism.
As Christian musicians, we can’t “play the fence” between God’s mastery of us and our instrument and our own. If we want the former, we have to surrender the latter. That’s what making “Jesus as Lord” is all about – not just at our public confession of The Faith during water-baptism, but our daily private confession. If we want the “By My Spirit” dynamite-like power of the Lord, then we have to give up our own “might and power.” Holiness doesn’t come by our Christian work, but by surrender to the Spirit of holiness – we must become intimate partners of the divine nature through intimate relationship.
Lord, I will no longer fight You for who is supposed to have control of me. I am no longer “captain of my own ship” after I gave my life to You when I publicly confessed “Jesus is Lord” and was water-baptized for salvation. I confess that I have lacked self-control my whole life, often saying “yes” to my own desires over Yours. I’ve also had pride in my own “might and power” external resources and internal abilities, and claimed to have self-mastery over many things, even in my zeal to live as a Christian. But I know that You “oppose the proud but give grace to the humble.” Therefore, I gladly lay down my fleshly resources and abilities, even my many failures, in exchange or propitiation for the perfect self-mastery of Christ and the dynamite, enabling-power of His Spirit of holiness.
Lord, I know that attempting to do even 1 of the 613 Old Testament laws obligates me to do all of them, but the “Law multiplies sin,” thus making it “the Law of sin and death.” No, I will not keep working on how to be more “right with You.” Instead I will fully surrender by trusting-relying-faith in Your mercy and grace through the blood of Jesus Christ. I “will NOT lean on my own understanding, but in all my ways lean on You to make my paths straight and smooth.”
Lord, I know that “self-control” is a final “flavor” or “by-product” of the singular fruit or nature of the Holy Spirit that is simply unconditional-love, so instead of striving for my own “self-mastery,” I will strive to be “filled with all the abundant-fullness of the unconditional-love of God by the means of the Holy Spirit.” Then I will have “Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and yes, Self-Mastery.” Therefore, I know in order to have godliness and holiness I must be filled to overflowing by the means of the Holy Spirit. I know that “partaking in the divine nature to escape worldly corruption that is produced through lust” can only come through intimate fellowship through genuine, experiential, relational epignosko knowledge of You.
Lord, I trust that NOW I am “Your workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which You prepared beforehand, that I should walk in them” and so “I exercise down-from-above my salvation with ‘fear and trembling’ reverential-amazement that it is You who works in me both to desire/will and to do Your good pleasure.” How incredible You are to “take the muscles that I tore down in the gym while exercising in my “workout” and rebuild them stronger during the time I am peacefully resting and asleep.” Now that’s the unconditional-favor-of-grace! What an awesome God!
Spiritual Education, Self-control versus Spirit-control, Zechariah 4:6 might & power versus Spirit, Ministry is to be by God’s Spirit not man’s talent, close beside God all things possible, man’s flesh is powerless, the old covenant doesn’t empower man but weaken man, If we disconnect from Christ there is no power, The house built on Jesus the BedRock stands against storms, the Holy Spirit gives us the ischus inner power, Faith working through love is what counts NOT Old Testament Law, Self-Mastery is a flavor of the Spirit’s Love nature, Spirit-control only comes through connection to the Vine of Christ in intimate relationship, Surrender is required to exchange our lack of Self-Control for the Spirit’s control.