Sunday, March 7, 2010

Self-Control, not self-denial

During a Sabbath School discussion and reflection, I had the opportunity of focusing my thoughts on SELF-CONTROL, which is a part of the fruit of the Spirit.

SELF-CONTROL is otherwise known to KJV Bible readers as TEMPERANCE. As the term suggests, it is about exercising control over self - which consists of our feelings, thoughts, appetites, drives and will.

The Apostle in Galatians 5: 23 did not advocate that self-denial - denial of feelings, appetites and drives but rather the exercising of control.

Control does not mean total disuse, but rather a regulation of use. It requires knowing when to permit partaking in a pleasure, activity or a state and when to restrict self from indulgence.

For example, our sexual feelings have been given to us by G-d both to populate the earth (Genesis 1:28) and for enjoyment and pleasure (Proverbs 5:15-19; Proverbs 30:18-19 and Songs of Solomon). The appetite for food, has also been given to us by G-d (Genesis 1:29). Our desires for responsibility and power are also given to us by G-d, who designed us all to be rulers over his domain on earth (Genesis 1:28).

Nothing is wrong in these appetites of themselves. What is wrong is how we use or misuse our drives and appetites. Do we use them to fulfil the purposes of G-d? Or do we let these drives violate G-d's original intent, will and design for us?

Even our personality traits and temperament may be designed in order for us to achieve a G-d given role or purpose. I believe that G-d puts in every individual that he has created a little of himself that we all collectively manifest G-d (Genesis 1:26). Individually, we just manifest only a particular trait or DNA of G-d. Collectively, all human beings could represent the entirety of G-d characteristics and traits. Hence even our psychological make up could represent a part of G-d that no one else has. As such, nothing that we have are evil of it self, but rather, what constitutes the self requires right alignment with G-d purposes and will.

For example there is the account of Levi and his descendants. Levi's short temper was cursed by his father, Israel or Jacob (Genesis 49:5-7). Yet his descendants were chosen to be G-d's priests because of this trait that led them to be intolerant of unrighteousness. Levi was redeem through men like Moses and Phineas, who both had zeal for G-d and for seeing his will executed, even if it meant slaying others.

G-d has also left us with the model example of JESUS, who did not deny his feelings when he was in the garden, where he wanted the cup to pass (Matthew 26:36-42). Yet Jesus submitted to G-d's will even though he felt troubled at the thought of crucifixion.

Finally, I leave with this beautiful text (Phillipians 2:5-8; The Holy Bible, English Standard Version):

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, [1] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, [2] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Align thyself with the will and purposes of G-d!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Conflicting paradigms

I am in two minds. Being raised a social scientist and a Judeo-Christian, I have conflicting praradigms.

On one hand, social science tells me that through education and the application of scientific methods to discovering the best social order can help to raise humanity into a more Utopian existence. Also in Judeo-Christian theology, we are encourage that our works, deed, faith and prayers can help to transform the world into a more just and equitable place.

Yet, there is my other Judeo-Christian upbringing that argues that all attempts by men to build a more just and equitable social order will fail, especially because they wish to build without the foundation of G-d's Law. Further, most of the Bible are prophecies of what is in store for man. Humanity according to prophetic revelation is to become more degenerated in ethics and morality than better, and their attempts to save themselves will only lead them to give themselves over to Satan powers that will lead humanity in rebellion against G-d. This will lead to a final catastrophe, where G-d pours out his wrath against the unity of man and Satan in rebellion.

Further, there is my conspiracy theorist and critical social science background, where I am not sure if I believe that there is global political elite that is controlling the events of the world, through economic and political interventions into nations across the globe. Hence, this background lends me to pessimistic view of the New World Order and movements towards global integration.

All these ideas within makes me ambivalent about what I believe and what I should strive for in my present reality.

I am spooked out by UNESCO's mission (

Building peace in the minds of people

Yet enthralled by it. I really desire for humanity to be at peace. For conflicts to be resolved. For human beings to have shared ethics and values. Yet be guaranteed their freedoms. I want fair and just systems, and compliance by all.

At the same time, I wonder, did not the Bible call Jesus the prince of Peace. Is it not his mission to bring peace to the world?

I recognise that for developed countries, they aim to make people more peaceably through education and teaching ethics. They feel that they can educate all human beings into social order and transform people's minds through education and truth.

Yet, for Christians it is evangelizing and educating the world about Jesus that will bring liberation to all men.

And I wonder, where is the blur. The world system has the same goals as my Christian worldview. Just that they differ on rights, freedoms, ethics and values.