Family Bible Study lesson for July 28: God Wants Me to Be Under Control
July 12 2002 by Crate Jones , Daniel 1:1-15

Family Bible Study lesson for July 28: God Wants Me to Be Under Control | Friday, July 12, 2002

Friday, July 12, 2002

Family Bible Study lesson for July 28: God Wants Me to Be Under Control

By Crate Jones Daniel 1:1-15

To be or not to be under control? That is the question. It's self control vs. God's control.

Frank Sinatra's song, "I Did It My Way" is one way; God's way is always the best way. Always.

The story's setting Nebuchadbezzar, King of Babylon, conquered Jerusalem. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, young men from royal families, were taken to Babylon. It was a strange land to them, with pagan customs. We would call it a secular society with few restraints - not unlike today's world.

These young captives were chosen to serve the king and had to go through a three-year training period. A time of testing faced them.

The king's delicacies and the kind of wine the king drank were to be their diet. A portion of this kind of food was offered to idols and a portion of the wine was poured on a pagan altar. To Daniel, such food and drink would defile him and his friends. He requested vegetables and water instead.

One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5 is temperance or self-control. The words are not in our text, but the spirit of that later revealed truth is evident in Daniel's resolve to abstain. His "self-control" was really God's control.

The importance of control is seen in the saga of the prodigal son (Luke 15). He found himself in a far country and hit the skids through "wine, women and song." A portrait of unbridled "self-control" that led to living with hogs.

There, he took deliberate control-of-self and realized he'd played the fool. He hit the road for home. With his father's help, he learned to live under control at last.

Going deeper with God A certain well went dry every summer. The owners decided to dig it deeper. By digging through six feet of rock, the well never went dry again.

Our need to be under God's control is satisfied by drinking from His well of salvation. Jesus is "living water" that never ceases to flow. We find it by going deeper with Him.

When we try to keep self under control, it's like trying to hold a beach ball under water. Just as soon as you take your hands off, up it pops.

The apostle Paul faced the same dilemma: "For the good I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice" (Rom. 7:19, NKJ). With that, many of us can identify. Paul was delivered from the control struggle by Jesus.

"Only God can enable Christians to have self-mastery and commit to exercise self-control." That enabling is the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Help from above There are times when we all have difficulty with control. Through Isaiah, God has given us a word of encouragement: "Thine ears will hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand or when ye turn to the left"' (Is. 30:21).

If we are heading in the wrong direction, He lets us know.

Jesus said, "If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matt. 16:24).

For the Christian, the cross becomes "the way." It means death to self that Christ may live in us. We choose who will be on the cross and who will be on the throne. Control is decided.

When I was a boy in the '20s, garbage men drove wagons drawn by horses. It looked like fun and required no education. Sounded good to a kid who did not like school. I wanted to be a garbage man. My dream was fulfilled in seminary: one of my jobs on campus was to haul out the trash. God is good!

Later on, I wanted to be a cartoonist and be rich. I even promised the Lord I'd give Him a lot of money for missions. (A ruse to avoid a call to preach.) It did not work. He had other plans.

At age 19, during a youth revival, my will and God's were at odds. But in my heart I heard His voice. I knew He wanted me to be a preacher. My "yes" settled the course of my life.

I haven't always denied self; nor do I now. But my heart's desire remains: "Let go and let God have His wonderful way."

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7/12/2002 12:00:00 AM by Crate Jones , Daniel 1:1-15 | with 0 comments
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