Personal Challenge #11.2 Self-Control – Honoring God with our Bodies
Just as men are attracted to beauty, women have a desire to be found beautiful. But this is more than skin-deep. Let’s see what God says.
“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears (and honors??) the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
Beauty is another GOOD thing, God makes beautiful things, but it’s another of those things that can become a snare if it’s in the wrong place in our lives: vanity, pre-occupation with appearance, neglecting development of the inner qualities… Sometimes also focusing on my beauty and wanting to be found beautiful can cause me to wake up my sexual desire and lust.
Know that you are found beautiful in God’s eyes. “How lovely you are, my darling.” Bask without inhibition and blossom in this attention.
“You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Solomon 4:7
“Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” Psalm 45:11a
Honoring God With My Body
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
1 Cor 6:19-20
We know that our sexuality is God-given and good. Our bodies are designed by God and are good. The sexual parts of our bodies and our beauty are good. How do we honor God with our bodies, our sexuality and sexual feelings, and our beauty, especially in singleness?
I know what it feels like to dishonor God with my body, my sexuality, my beauty. One such event started out with feeling like my beauty has an expiry date and feeling panic – ‘Why hasn’t my future husband seen me yet, what is God doing?? I’m running out of time!!!’ I was feeling beautiful, and feeling frustrated that there was no one to appreciate it. And then I started to express my sexuality by myself, and take pleasure in my own beauty and sexuality in a way I knew wasn’t honoring to God.
And so, after a nice long period of a chilled out sexuality, I woke up my sex drive. Regardless of the various factors that contributed to it, it woke up. That part of my body was yelling at me to pay attention to it. To answer to it. To meet its needs. But I no longer serve my sexuality. I’m no longer mastered by my sexuality. I serve Jesus.
I fought hard. I walked out what it means to submit my sexuality to the Lordship of Jesus. This is more than just being celibate. This is more than just not masturbating. This is in the private moments, within the privacy of just yourself and your sexuality and your memories and your feelings. The space between an unwanted alarm clock (your sex drive announcing itself in an untimely moment) and any external action. The inner place. Even in those spaces, let your sexuality not rein, but rein over it. Bridle it, just like James instructs to bridle your tongue. And not letting sin reign.
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness” (Romans 6:11-13).
This is more than “choose purity to avoid negative consequences”. This is next-level. Following Christ even unto death to self. Self-control looks like dying to self – dying to what you want, dying to how you want to get what you need. Reigning it under self-control, not under control of your desires, and choosing to control it out of your own free will. How? By keeping in step with the Spirit will bring about the ability of self-control. It IS the fruit of living by the Spirit of God. It is the fruit of being in Christ. I am not my own.
“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. […] The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.” 1 Cor 6:12, 13b, 14
Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. Prov 25:28
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 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. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:1-14
As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit. 1 Thes 4:1-8
Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. Romans 6:19b
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Rom 12:1
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