Some Christians don’t realize they are three-part beings. You are a spirit; you have a soul; and you live in a body. When you are born again, your spirit is recreated. To grow in Christ, your mind must be renewed with the Word of God (Rom. 12:2).
What, then, are you to do with your body—the house you live in (2 Cor. 5:1)? Remember, your body is not who you really are. Your spirit is the real you.
Most Christians don’t live as though they are spirit beings. They seem unaware the Spirit of Almighty God lives in them. Many allow their bodies to control the way they live.
It shouldn’t be that way. A Christian who lives according to his physical senses will run into trouble. He won’t be able to accurately listen to his heart and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Your Spirit and Your Body
The Bible says your spirit plays a part in controlling your body. Notice what Paul said in First Corinthians 9:27: “I keep my body under control” (CEV). Another translation says, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection” (NKJV).
Who is the “I” Paul is referring to? If he considered his body to be the real Paul, he would have said, “I discipline myself and bring myself under control.”
Paul knew he was a spirit being who lived in a body. He knew his inward man needed to control the behavior of his outward man.
Paul made a strong statement telling believers what to do with their bodies.
ROMANS 12:1 (NLT)
1 I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice.
Paul wasn’t talking to sinners here—he was talking to believers. He was telling people who were “new creatures in Christ” that they needed to do something about their bodies.
When you become a new person in Christ, old things do pass away and all things become new (2 Cor. 5:17). But that is true only in regard to your inward man. Your spirit being becomes new. When you were born again, your body didn’t change. It will always want to do things it’s not supposed to do.
Your entire Christian walk will be hindered if your body is not kept under the control of your spirit.
Controlling Your Body
If your body never wanted to do what’s wrong, Paul would not have had to say, “I keep my body under control.” You don’t have to keep something under control that doesn’t tend to get out of control.
For instance, as long as your car is parked, you don’t have to control the direction it’s going. When you begin driving the car, you have to guide it with the steering wheel. If you don’t, you will lose control of the vehicle.
Just as a steering wheel guides a car, your spirit needs to control your body. Otherwise, your body will control you.
What happens if you continually give in to the flesh rather than walking according to the Spirit? The Bible says you will cause decay and death to come into your life (Gal. 6:8 NLT).
That’s why it’s essential to keep your body under the control of your spirit and learn how to listen to your heart. Your recreated spirit doesn’t have a sin problem. Your spirit wants to obey the Word of God and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Your problems will be with your body and your unrenewed mind. Why? Because your body always wants to fulfill the desires of the flesh.
For you to be a victorious Christian, your inward man must control your outward man (Gal. 5:16–18). How do you keep your body disciplined and under the control of your spirit?
First, you decide to live by your spirit instead of being body-ruled. You can use the same principles of faith you use to believe for other needs in your life. Just apply those principles to this area of taking control of your body. Say what you believe (2 Cor. 4:13) and act upon what you have spoken (James 2:14, 17).
That’s what Paul did. First, he had to believe according to God’s Word. He believed he could control his body and bring it under the control of his spirit (Phil. 4:13). Next, Paul spoke what he believed: “I discipline my body. I keep it under control” (1 Cor. 9:27). Finally, Paul acted on his faith. He daily presented his body as a living sacrifice to God. He submitted to his spirit and not his flesh.
Know that when you stop doing something your flesh has enjoyed for a long time, it’s not going to feel good. But if you want to walk closely with God and fulfill His plan for your life, it’s important to say no to your desires—no matter how much your flesh dislikes it (Gal. 5:24; Rom. 8:13 CEV).
Left to itself, your flesh will lead you into sin. You have to realize that you will have a body to contend with as long as you live on this earth. Once you understand this, you can determine to keep your body under the control of your spirit according to the Word.
Tell Your Body What to Do
The best way to get any part of your body under control is to find out what the Word says on the subject. Once you discover that, be a doer of the Word. Listen to what the Holy Spirit prompts you to do and make your body obey His leading.
Your body should not dictate to you what you will do. You should dictate to your body what it will do.
You are the only one who can discipline your body and bring it under the control of your spirit. If you don’t, you will decrease your sensitivity to what the Holy Spirit is saying to your heart. Your entire Christian walk will be hindered if your body is not kept under the control of your spirit.
Decide today to become spirit-ruled—not body-ruled. Speak by faith, “I bring my body under the control of my spirit.” Then put action to your words by daily presenting your body to God. You can lay aside the weights that hinder you because the Bible says you can do all things through Christ Who strengthens you (Phil. 4:13).
You should dictate to your body what it will do.
Kenneth W. Hagin
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Amen, Praise God. It’s a good message for helping us live victorious Christian lives!