The outworking of our inner motivations, desires and emotions through action, spontaneous reactions and words should be consistent with our new life in Christ, with our character displaying the fruit of the Spirit and reflecting His divine nature (Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 5:22,23). God requires we love Him with our total being, and our neighbour as ourselves (Mk 12:30,31). Do I consistently do the most loving thing for others or does life revolve around me? Jesus warned against self-promoting behaviour done to gain the attention of other people rather than from the motive of love and obedience (Mt 6:1-18).
Rationalising bad behaviour by making excuses such as, ‘Satan made me do it’, ‘it was my upbringing’, ‘it’s the way I am’, ‘everyone is doing it’, or ‘it’s my weak point’ infer being a powerless victim, but the responsible option is to take ownership of our actions and address what needs to be changed in us. Don’t live in a reactionary mode dwelling in the past, but look forward, focusing on the positive, creative opportunities – that is, live in faith.
The Bible's instruction is to "Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ" (Phil 1:27).
A motto to live by is ‘Would Jesus do this?’
qualities; conversely discipline will discourage unacceptable conduct in the future. If you claim to be a Christian, live it out in reality or else you are a hypocrite. Guard the areas where you are susceptible to temptation and be in accountability to others besides doing what you would like people to do to you (Lk 6:31).
Self-control is a vital quality we should be developing because we are answerable to God for what we do, and this is more important than focusing on another’s faults – for whom I am not answerable (Mt 7:3-5; Rom 14:12). Satan concentrates on our vulnerable areas and we need to actively resist his temptations. We should operate or function out of reasoned, conscious choices based on our will to do the right thing, not impulses of the carnal flesh. Our behaviour displays either a life in the process of being transformed by God’s character through learning His ways or one reflective of Satan’s characteristics – self-centred and reactionary decisions that become bad habits.