After You Became Saved, What Did You Do Next?
YOUR MID-WEEK TRUTH TURN UP
Meditate on this: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Feature verse: “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” – 1 Corinthians 9:27
A few years ago, a young lady (let’s call her Reni*) came to see me for some Christian coaching. She had wandered far from God, gotten caught up in unwholesome romantic relationships and a lifestyle that was costing her spiritually and emotionally. She felt she had lost herself in a maze of wrong choices and in the process, she had become broken inside. Reni came to me for help; ultimately, she wanted her relationships and sense of wholeness restored and she believed that in order to achieve that, she needed to return to a loving and growing relationship with God.
Well, Reni was right. In order to get restored in her emotional life, Reni’s spiritual life needed to be restored. However, what she did not bargain for was that in order for her spiritual life to truly be restored, Reni would need to follow her decision to return to Jesus, with an intentional process of disciplining her ‘body’ and bringing it under subjection to the Spirit of God.
Let me explain. By using the word ‘body’ in 1 Corinthians 9:27, Paul was referring to the needs and inclinations of your physical body, your emotions and feelings, as well as your intellect and logic. In other places, Paul used other terms such as “the flesh” or “self” or “the old man”, and basically, Paul pretty often taught that there is only one ‘right response’ to the free gift of salvation and righteousness, and that is for the believer to choose to no longer be defined and led by his ‘body’, but rather by the Spirit of God. In other words, and let me bring this back to Reni, now that Reni had chosen to return to a thriving relationship with God, she needed to choose to establish herself in that by anchoring her identity, lifestyle and daily choices in the Spirit of God, and no longer in her body.
So, after Reni and I concluded the usual coaching preliminaries, I introduced her to a coaching tool of mine that is based on 1 Corinthians 9:27, all about identifying the areas of your life in which you are still being led by your body (physical inclinations and desires, emotions, intellect), and taking practical steps to establish a new order whereby your lifestyle, identity and daily choices are now led by the Spirit of God. I helped her understand that the reason that she fell into that unwholesome lifestyle in the first place was because after being saved, she never took the next step to surrender your ‘body’ to discipline and subject it intentionally to the Holy Spirit. Instead she had continued living a life driven by her desires, and not by God’s Spirit. It took her a while but we were able to chart a practical way to help her to daily discipline her ‘body’ and bring it under subjection so that after all is said and done, she would not lose herself again.
Many of us Christians are like Reni; I know I was for a long time. We receive the free gift of salvation and then we follow it up with … nothing. We carry on living our self-led lives and we do not transition into a lifestyle and identity that is led by the Holy Spirit. We continue to make daily choices based on our bodies’ needs, our feelings, our fears, our desires, even our sense of right and wrong. The result is that so many Christians carry on living the same sinful, powerless, broken lives they lived before they got saved, and of course, the world looks at this and it confirms to them that indeed, Jesus is not God, and even if He is, He has no power to save. This is not how it is meant to be for us.
We see a perfect example in Matthew 4:4 where the devil tempted a very hungry Jesus to prove that He is the Son of God and satisfy His hunger by supernaturally turning stones into bread. Jesus could have given into His hunger, or at the very least, He could have been tempted to prove to Satan that He was indeed the Son of God. But that would have been pride, wouldn’t it? Instead of acting in line with His physical needs (hunger) or any root of pride that wanted to establish itself, Jesus demonstrated that His ‘body’ was under subjection, and His choices were going to be led by the Word of God. So how did Jesus reply? “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Friends, after you got saved, after you threw up your hands joyfully receiving the free gift of salvation that you could never have paid for yourself, what did you do? Did you just carry on living life with your ‘body’ holding the reins? Or did you surrender to a daily journey of handing over the reins to the Holy Spirit? Paul said in Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit, they are sons of God.” As a child of God, God’s Spirit must be your leader in the small and not-so-small choices of your life, but you alone can make that happen, and God promises that if you are willing, He will give you the grace you need to bring your body under subjection and hand over the reins to Him, and He will be merciful to you whenever you don’t quite get it right.
I encourage you today to look into your life and prayerfully admit the areas where you have not disciplined your ‘body’ nor brought it under subjection to the Holy Spirit. How have you patterned your life and daily choices around your feelings, desires, intellect, etc, instead of around the leading of the Holy Spirit and His Word? Now, prayerfully give over the reins to the Holy Spirit. Where He wants to take you … boy … you have no reason to fear. On the contrary actually, you should be bouncing off the walls in anticipation. Your body can never give you any kind of high that compares to that which the Holy Spirit gives.
P.S. If you need some help or guidance about how to do this practically, feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I have really good and practical tools that you can use on this journey. I am also willing to take you on as a one-on-one coachee, if this suits you better. You can find all my coaching programs and offerings here.
Let us pray
Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me so much that You did not leave me ignorantly living a Christian life that is void of freedom and power. Thank You for introducing to me the lifestyle of disciplining my body and bringing it under subjection to Your Spirit and Your Word. Lord Jesus, I want the real deal! I want ‘that God-life’ of intimacy with You through which I walk in freedom from sin and inner brokenness, and I’m also able to discern and walk in Your purpose for my life. Please help me to discipline my flesh. Help me to stop allowing my body, emotions, intellect and desires to drive my life. I surrender to the Holy Spirit, the Counsellor, Teacher and Comforter. Holy Spirit, I am God’s child, so please, be my only leader. Be my only guide. And on days when I get it wrong, help me to run to Your ever-willing arms for mercy and grace to pick up and keep at this journey of transformation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Further Study (Optional)
Paul uses other terms to describe what it means to ‘bring your body under subjection’. In Ephesians 4:22-23, Paul said, “Lay aside your old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”
In Colossians 3:5, Paul said, “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”
In Romans 12:1-2, Paul said, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
But I think the verse that sums it up best for me is what Jesus said in John 3:30: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
I am Coach Toyin, fully convicted by my own words and very much still under construction in the hands of the Father.