A child has no filter when they speak. A child will speak whatever is on their mind. As adults, we think it is cute. When an adult has no filter, it is not cute, just offensive. Self-control begins in your mind. Your mind determines what you think, perceive, feel, and believe, which influences your decisions and behaviors. Your mind stores memories of the past and present that controls your thoughts and feelings. So, to be self-controlled we must transform our minds.
My last two posts explain how and why childhood issues need to be transformed so we can be self-controlled. The Link Between Disappointment, Resentment, and Self-control and Self-control and Maturity.
Do you know what is in your mind? What you think? How you feel?
To transform your mind, you first must become aware of what is in your mind. Since God is the all-knowing Spirit who created us, ask Him to show you, because He knows all your thoughts and ways. Psalm 139:1-4 state, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2) You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3) You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4) Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.” Jeremiah 17:9,10 state, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 10) ‘I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.’” Also read Revelations 2:23. If you do not want to be rewarded according to your evil thoughts, then you need to ask God to reveal them, so you can repent and put them out of your mind. Remember, we reap a lot more than we sow (see Galatians 6:7,8). Psalm 139:23,24 state, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!”
How do we transform our minds?
The bible says a lot about how we are to think and be self-controlled in all areas of our life. In fact, Romans 12:2 tells us “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Transforming your mind happens as you look to Jesus for help as you read the Scriptures. Transform means to take another form and renew means to make new. The phrase, “that by testing you may discern” is also translated in the King James Version as “that you may prove.” The meaning of these two phrases is commonly applied to testing the quality of metals by fire. Spiritually, these two phrases indicate, as your mind is renewed you will be able to pass the test and understand the will of God, and what is written in the Bible. So, as your mind is renewed you will become more self-controlled and will be able to love well. My short-book on my website explains the scientific and spiritual research for why and how to transform our minds to achieve a self-controlled life.
How to control your tongue.
When we control how we think with the help of God, then we can control how we speak, and be mature. This can only be done by continually abiding with Jesus in the heavenly places through prayer, which can be accomplished by turning every thought into a prayer. See my post called, Can You Be Too Heavenly Minded?
The Bible says we are to bridle our tongue to control it, like we bridle a horse to control it. James 1:26 states, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” And, James 3:2,3 state, “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle (control) his whole body. 3) If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.” Some people have problems gossiping, complaining, being critical, and arguing. Why? How can we live blameless lives before God (Philippians 1:9-11)?
(Update: I know I am being vulnerable, but I hope it helps you in some way. A few days after I posted this, I wrote a negative venting email to my friend while under the control of my feelings, and spoke negative about my someone. I felt the conviction to not write what I did (should have heeded the Holy Spirit), but I did it anyway. At 4:30 a.m. the next morning, God put His finger on my heart about it. I repented and ask Him what I could do to not let my feelings control my responses. God said (paraphrase), talk to Him first. A few hours later, I had the opportunity to do just that. I prayed about a difficult situation I was getting emotional about and WOW, it worked. I was able to respond logically and under the Holy Spirit’s control.)
It is one thing to know the right thing to do and say, but another thing to do it. For example, I wrote a helpful post called Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without so I know what I should be thinking, now I need to discipline myself to do this daily. You can never be perfect at something unless you practice all the time. You have my permission to print out my post on “Thoughts that Create Peace Within and Without” to practice training your mind. The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:9: “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.“
When events don’t go as planned is stressful, and we sometimes, or often, lose self-control of our feelings and do and say things we shouldn’t. The next time you are tempted to lose control of your emotions, excuse yourself from the situation and answer the following questions to bridle your tongue before your mouth spills hurtful words.
What is the expectation not being met? (Take a deep breath and accept the disappointment and the fact that not everything will go the way you want it to.)
- What are the wrong thoughts I need to capture and loose from my mind? (Take a deep breath and ask God to show you. It may not be right away, but He will.)
- What is the false belief or offense driving my thoughts, which need to be loosed from my mind? (Take a deep breath and ask God to show you, and the memory that needs to be healed.)
- What is the problem that needs to be solved?
- What are some solutions?
- What are Biblical truths I can bind to my mind to renew it and transform my attitude.
- What can I be thankful for?
There is hope for complete transformation of your reactions when you depend on God to show what is in your mind and seek His help to renew your mind through the Holy Scriptures. You can be self-controlled in what you say as your mind is transformed by God’s love.
Helpful posts to read: