Paul said he had to control his body so he could do what was needed. He wasn’t controlled by his feelings, thinking, personal reasoning, or the atmosphere of the world around him.
I Corinthians 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Athletes have to be temperate, to use self control. It takes hard work and self-discipline to train and to win the race. Athletes can’t be up all hours but need to get their rest and eat the proper foods.
I Corinthians 9:25-27 (Amplified Bible) Now every athlete who [goes into training and] competes in the games is disciplined and exercises self-control in all things. They do it to win a [a]crown that withers, but we [do it to receive] an imperishable [crown that cannot wither]. Therefore I do not run without a definite goal; I do not flail around like one beating the air [just shadow boxing]. But [like a boxer] I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached [the gospel] to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified [as unfit for service].
The people had everything in common and were eating the same thing. They were overthrown in the wilderness because of disobedience. We need to want God’s way and be controlled by his way, or we won’t obey. We can sit in the congregation and be getting the same spiritual food, but we’ll be like those in the wilderness if we don’t do what we hear.
I Corinthians 10:1-7…I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea…And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters…as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
We’re all going to be tempted but how we respond is what counts. God doesn’t tempt us but he tests us. If we crucify our lusts, they won’t affect our obedience to God. No matter how long we’ve been saved, we have to determine we’re going to crucify temptations of our flesh. It only took 40 days for the Israelites to turn against God and to worship idols. We need to pray each day for God to help us see the temptations of the devil, like murmuring, complaining, or discouragement.
James 1:13-15 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
God wanted to teach his people a lesson about obeying. Jonadab and the Rechabites were in the same family as Jethro who was Moses’ father-in-law. After 200 years the Rechabites were still obeying what they had been told by Jonadab. They made things with medal and lived in tents, but they prospered because they obeyed. Their father gave them the commandments to protect them from worldliness. They didn’t have the 10 commandments but had their personal commandments. God used them to help Jehu to destroy idols in Ahab’s time as king, too.
Jeremiah 35:1-10 The word which came unto Jeremiah from the Lord…Go unto the house of the Rechabites…bring them into the house of the Lord…and give them wine to drink…I brought them…And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and I said…Drink ye wine. But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded…Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever: Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard…but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land …Thus have we obeyed…our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters…we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed…all that Jonadab our father commanded us.
God wants us to be faithful and obey because we love him, like the Rechabites obeyed in love and respect for their fathers.
Jeremiah 35:15-17 I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets…saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them…but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me. Because the sons of Jonadab…have performed the commandment of their father…but this people hath not hearkened unto me: Therefore thus saith the Lord…Behold, I will bring upon Judah and…Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced…because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and…they have not answered.
God wasn’t happy that his people wouldn’t obey or listen to the prophets. He promised the Rechabites to always have someone standing before God because they obeyed their fathers. God is faithful to teach all to live godly (Titus 2:11-12).
Jeremiah 35:18-19…Thus saith the Lord…Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab…according unto all that he hath commanded you: Therefore…Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.
Many died by a plague when the Israelites gave into temptation by Midianitish women to commit fornication. The priest Phinehas stopped the plague by killing an Israelite man and a Midianitish woman in the tent (Numbers 25:1-9).
I Corinthians 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some…committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
Joseph was tempted to have a bad attitude about his brothers but he had a good attitude. God blessed him and those around him. He blessed Potiphar and all he had when he made Joseph overseer. Our attitude is vitally important to those around us. If you serve God with all your heart, the blessing of the Lord will break out around you, so others are blessed. We need to shine to those around us in this dark world.
Genesis 39:3-6 And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and…made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had…And it came to pass…the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had…And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat…
Joseph was tempted every day by Potiphar’s wife but he would not give into the temptation. He could have rationalized some reason for giving in, but it wasn’t even in his mind.
Genesis 39:7-9 And…his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said… my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand…neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee…his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
Joseph fled and wasn’t worried about her feelings or what she said. Sometimes you have to get away from temptations.
Genesis 39:10-12 And…she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And…Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.
We will have to suffer in doing right because the enemy makes sure of it. When Joseph was in jail, the guard saw God was with him so he put Joseph in charge. Joseph didn’t defend what happened with Potiphar’s wife but let God handle it. He had a good attitude, wasn’t ruled by or giving into his flesh. Temptations are common. All are tempted by lusts of the flesh to do things against God. The Israelites got discouraged and murmured about the way God led but had manna with all the needed nutrients. Moses prayed so the plague stopped (Numbers 21:7-11).
I Corinthians 10:9-10 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
God was angry and destroyed those who complained. God doesn’t send discouragement. He wants us to be encouraged. He said “be of good cheer” (John 16:3). Discouragement is a temptation from the devil to murmur about the way God leads us…to tell God he doesn’t know what he’s doing. If we start to complain, we need to ask God to check us and help us stop.
Numbers 11:1 And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord…his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)