I recently joined a community of men who are known by the title “F3.” It’s a really unique and powerful organization that supports men in the areas of Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith. At first I thought it was a slightly cheesy old guys club with all the nicknames and Dad jokes you could handle. But after a few months, I’ve really come to enjoy knowing some of these men and seeing how these guys truly want to be good dads, husbands, leaders…good dudes in general.
This morning I was enjoying some quiet time after carrying a large rock and running repeated, brutal hill sprints behind a leader with the nickname, “Peak Week.” Oh the irony.
I was asking myself about the three F’s, fitness, fellowship, faith…which one is most important to me? Which do I find the most value in? If I could only choose one F, what would it be?
This is where my mind led me…
I am a THREE Part Being:
1- Body – my body has needs and desires like sex, sleep, oxygen, food, etc
2- Soul – This is my mind, character, feelings, thoughts, emotions.
3- Spirit – This is the part that lives forever, this is the part that connects and communicates with God.
Everyday my body, soul and spirit are competing…they are often in conflict with one another, fighting for first controller. All 3 like to be the one in control.
When my Body is in control, it has a complete disregard for my soul and my spirit. My body doesn’t care about my spirit or my emotions. It’s easy to tell if I am allowing the desires of my body to control me because I will start to give it exactly what it wants, all the time. It feels good, so I do it.
When my body is in control, I will start to eat too much, or sleep too much, or I become sex obsessed, or substance dependent, etc. When I over-feed the appetites of my body and give my body control, it starts to have a negative effect on my soul. I start feeling down on myself, depressed, moody, absent minded, etc. If I give my body the driver seat, it will eventually wreck my soul.
Something needs to govern my body.
But what happens when my Soul gets to be in control?
Have you ever met someone who is driven by their emotions? If their soul rules them, then they start feeding the appetites of their mind and giving into their feelings all the time, and eventually their emotions will start to control their body. This is why many people harm themselves, starve themselves, attempt suicide, or end up with an eating disorder…it’s because their soul (mind/will/emotions) took control.
But something needs to govern your soul.
So what’s the solution? Give the Spirit full control. When the SPIRIT of God is truly birthed in us, then God’s spirit will begin to request control over our body and soul. God gives us a new spirit. Our spirit actually cares for our self (body/soul), more than our self cares for our self. You may have heard terms like self healing or self care…Does your body need healing? Your soul need care?
The bad news is Self doesn’t heal, self destructs. And Self doesn’t care, self is careless. But the good news is the Spirit heals AND cares. Unsurprisingly, the fruit of the spirit in our life is self-control. And when the Spirit is not in control, who always comes to sit on the throne?
People worship their self. There are books, instagram accounts, podcasts and YouTube channels that are all about how yourself is so important, and you should do selfcare and believe in yourself and improve yourself, etc, etc etc. It’s also no surprise these accounts are filled with selfies of their owner.
In fact, an author named Paul talks about this in one his famous books…
Romans 7:18-20, 24-25
And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
What Paul is saying, is that there is a huge conflict between our 1) body, our 2) soul & our 3) Spirit. The conflict is evident because each want to be in control of the others.
This all sheds a new light on the final fruit of the spirit listed in Galatians 5, “SELF-CONTROL.” For clarity, it doesn’t mean give yourself control. It literally means, CONTROL your self. If you have the Spirit of God in you, you have the power to control your self. You CAN control your body. It doesn’t have to entice, enslave and destroy you. You can get healthy, you can choose to wake up early, you can be disciplined in your daily life. You CAN control your emotions. You don’t have to sway in every direction the winds of your feelings blow. You can control your thoughts and become a person of good character. Because you have SELF CONTROL.
I’m grateful for my newfound F3 friends, because they give me an opportunity to practice self-control every day.
It’s early, I’m tired, It’s hard work, I’m old, I have all the excuses. But if I don’t control myself, what will? Or who will?
PS – I should have listened to Pikachu, SlideRule, Ricoh Suave and Cancun a long time ago. 😉