UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON

48

Chapter 13

UNDERSTANDING SELF-CONTROL, CONVICTIONS AND DISCIPLINE

 

For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness and goodness, knowledge and to knowledge, self-control and to self-control, perseverance and to perseverance, godliness and to godliness, brotherly kindness and to brother kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (2 Peter 1:5-8 NKJV)

This chapter is the most important chapter in this book. Dealing with self-control, convictions and discipline is important in the Christianís life because we need to weed out bad habits and learn to replace them with a Spirit-filled lifestyle. Self-control over oneís actions and emotions helps us to avoid temptations and evil which may assault our lives. Prisons are infested with evil. Without self-control, your loved one will be open to many different types of evil practices and not be able to overcome them. For Christians, it is important to know that the Holy Spirit dwells within us. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is self-control. So, because of the Holy Spirit, we can use the fruit of the self-control to overcome temptations.

Sometimes these actions do not come automatically. It takes choice and discipline by putting Godís will first in our lives. It is a continual part of growing in Christ. The Holy Spirit empowers us to make the right choices if we seek His help and are committed to being responsible and to learning and growing through good choices. The more we obey Christ and walk by the Spirit, we will develop more and more self-control and it will become easier to avoid temptations.

An important step to developing self-control is self evaluation. Most of those in prison have never taken the time to evaluate themselves and see who the true person is that lives within them. We have a tendency to hide the things that we donít like about ourselves. When we truly repent and receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, these things become more apparent and we can start working on making ourselves better with His help.

One example is our bad attitudes toward others.  If we donít work on these attitudes as Christians through prayer and discipline, then the problem builds because we know what we should be doing. By fighting the tug of the Holy Spirit to work on these problems, we become frustrated and can one day blow up at another Christian brother. This, in turn, leads to hurt feelings, guilt and a lack of peace which hinders spiritual growth.

Honest self-evaluation is critical to good spiritual growth and Christian maturity. Helping your friends or loved ones in prison through mentoring and example of your own times of self-evaluation can teach him to do the same. Sharing and praying together, you can talk to him about his own self-evaluation. Hopefully, through gentle guidance, he will see the need to do so and pray about it on a regular basis.

Once a person sees their real self, the next step is to make a plan of action to change the things that are not God honoring about himself. Some things will be fairly easy to change, while others wonít be so easy. The harder ones may take more time and more effort, but with consistency and determination improvement will occur. They may resurface frequently at first, but with continued self-control and discipline, these bad habits or characteristics will appear less and less frequent until one day they will disappear. Consistency and determination are the basis for self-control. Never give up!

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