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A few days ago Milo (our dog) was sick as a dog. We let him outside late at night, so he could relieve himself. Milo was quite distressed. We thought foolishly that would be the end of the matter. The next night Milo whimpered and complained; to be let out of course. Since we weren’t sure if he was faking it, we let him outside again. Not to miss an opportunity, Milo now decided that every night between midnight and 3 AM, he should be dutifully let out. He would whine and whimper; until he got his way. His owner, Fanny, tried to stop it; but to no avail. Last night I had had enough. I got up and in a firm, loud voice told him “NO!” and “LIE DOWN!”. He got the message; and we didn’t hear a peep out of him after that.

Now there is a simple reason why my forceful “NO” was more effective than Fanny’s. A long time ago, when we first acquired Milo for Fanny, I had a bone I wanted to give to our other dog Patches. After seeing her gently take it, Milo ran up to her, growled, barked and snapped fiercely; then he took the bone away. I was furious. I rushed at Milo and before he could move, I had tackled him on to his back. I ripped the bone from his mouth and returned it to Patches. Milo had just learned exactly who was the leader of this pack. By punching back at his aggression, he learned that I was the boss; he would have to submit. From that moment on, he has always seen me as the head of this family. When no one else can control him, I can. He knows when I get serious, he had better behave.

It was important for me to establish who was boss with Milo, so that we could control his very willful behavior. Without that early action, he would have been even more of a nightmare to handle than he really is. By establishing that I was the boss, I could now discipline him when he misbehaved; which is all too frequent. Likewise, when we are children in our homes of birth, we also need to know who is the boss. God does this by placing us under parents, guardians, trustees and administrators; to help us learn how to behave admirably, and enforce discipline when we don’t. If we miss these crucial lessons as children, we will become terrors as adults. Knowing who is boss and accepting effective discipline is absolutely necessary, if we are going to mature into functioning adulthood.

Imagine, if you will, a generation of children growing up without discipline, and thus developing an overindulged sense of entitlement. Imagine these children then going off to universities and colleges, and being taught by liberal professors who teach them that the world owes them a living; that there is a socialist utopia where they get nothing but never-ending free stuff. Imagine then a person, a boss, standing up to this, now adult, group of people, and telling them “NO”. Do you really believe that their response will be to just sit back and accept that restriction? Without effective discipline early in life, this group of lawless young people would become an extremist, violent anarchist mob; bent on destroying everything in their path, unless they get their way. Sound familiar? The liberal mobs in the US that attack anything conservative, have been emboldened by years of behavior being left unchallenged. When a boss like President Trump finally says “NO”, their vitriol and hate, at not getting their own way, knows no boundaries. They attack and destroy anyone and anything that says “NO” to them. This is a good visual of how the ‘self’ nature behaves; and what it looks like when someone tries to stop it.

The unruly ‘self’ nature that resides within each of us, is the cause of so much of our own pain. ‘Self’ is a crafty, devious piece of work, always looking for opportunities to stretch boundaries, and do things that it wants to do, regardless of consequences. The problem with such behavior is that ‘self’ will violate the law of love and often hurt others to get what it wants. It does not care about, or for anyone, or anything, but itself. From birth ‘self’ strikes out wanting only what it wants, and refusing to take “NO” for an answer. Inside, our poor spirit is no match for the ruthless bullying of ‘self’. The ‘self’ nature soon overpowers our own spirit and puts it to sleep or in prison, so it can continue its reign of terror within. Without outside discipline, ‘self’ will destroy the host; sooner or later. Our problem is that the spirit is too weak on its own to fight ‘self’. We need outside help; a boss that can help us and bring much needed discipline.

Now the Father is well aware of the ‘self’ nature within each of us, and has provided us with just the help we need. To begin, we first need to accept that He is the Boss. If we do not first learn to live with Him as Boss, we will never mature as adult sons. Second we must accept that as Boss, He has the right to discipline us. Now the discipline He brings first, is to correct our actions that spring from our own ‘self’ nature. If we do not learn to understand what is right and what is wrong, from the perspective of the divine will, it is very hard to repent for our mistakes later. It is important to remember that every action that springs from ‘self’ is wrong, and needs to be repented of immediately. These are the basics every believer needs to learn and take to heart in the first stage of their spiritual journey.

Once the believer has been trained, over time, how to submit to the Father as Boss, and to cheerfully accept His discipline, Jesus leads the maturing one into the wilderness. It is in the wilderness season that God shows us, in excruciating detail, the enemy of ‘self’, that burrows deep within each of us. The Father’s goal in the wilderness stage, is to strengthen our spirit so it can do battle against the ‘self’ nature and win. This is not a battle won by strength of will alone, but by humbly following Jesus and learning the discipline necessary to stand up to, and eventually destroy, ‘self’.

‘Self’ is extremely creepy. Each and every opportunity we give in to ‘self’, it creeps forward. If you give ‘self’ an inch, it will inevitably take a mile. It is always pushing boundaries, and is never static. Like satan, it wants everything for itself. The only way to block and stop ‘self’ is to give it a firm “NO”; with absolute finality. As Jesus guides, and points out the ‘self’ in us, we need to understand that He is also providing us with spiritual strength and stamina to fight ‘self’. To stand up and say “NO” to what ‘self’ wants. We cannot be weak with ‘self’, but forceful and strong. We cannot give ‘self’ even a little ground, because it will always push us away from God. Only those that diligently learn, and are willing to punch back at ‘self’, will be able to put it to death, and finally win in the spirit. Weakness does not win against ‘self’. Compromise does not win against ‘self’. Only a firm, resolute “NO”, with the guidance and support of God, will stop ‘self’.

Observe President Trump. He is a living example of how to stand up to ‘self’ successfully and to stop it in its tracks. When ‘self’ manifests within us, we need to punch back even harder against it. Remember that we are in a fight to the death with ‘self’. There has to be a ‘take no prisoners’ approach to dealing with the ‘self’ nature within us. We have to cultivate and nurture an environment of discipline. A yielding to following God’s will that will strengthen us for this battle inside. Without such discipline, we will be overrun by our own ‘self’ nature; which seeks to destroy. Whether the issue is gluttony, sexuality, gossip, selfishness, pride, greed, or any number of things ‘self’ promotes, we must learn, over time, to firmly say “NO” to ‘self’ and “YES” to Jesus.

Wanda and I learned a powerful lesson years earlier, about not saying “NO” to ‘self’. We observed that if a person did not say “NO” to ‘self’, it became harder for that person to say “NO” the next time the challenge came. Over a long period of time, this permissiveness allowed the ‘self’ nature of the individual to creep forward; eventually hardening into a new position. This calcified mass of ‘self’ within, would become impossible to repent of. This put the individual in grave eternal peril. They had refused the work of Jesus to help them turn from their ‘selfish’ ways, and accept the Father’s discipline in order to gain back the territory that had been lost. If only they had learned early in their spiritual walk to start saying “NO” to ‘self’ and “YES” to the Father’s discipline; they could have changed. This takes a long time, but eventually the person could, if they accepted the Father’s discipline, find ultimate victory in the place of their greatest defeat. The key to overcome, however, is to learn how to say “NO” to ‘self’ within us. Even when it fights us at every turn. This is the basis of our understanding of biblical repentance.

As our world devolves more and more into the abyss of catering to ‘self’, each day becomes an opportunity to turn from the increasing darkness, and seek for the Light. The discipline of the Father is our only hope. To overcome the hatred, abuse and violence that our ‘self’ nature throws at us. We need this discipline, His Light, so that we may overcome the world, the ‘self’ and the devil.

Make no mistake, there will soon be a day of accounting for those that pursue ‘self’ over spirit. We live in a generation of spoiled children; long overdue for a really good spanking. Frankly, as a people and individuals, we need to be disciplined. So that we will learn, like Milo learned, that the Boss is in charge. God has this world under His firm control and He will bring His discipline to bear at the proper time. It is far better for us to accept that discipline now, willingly, than to push the boundaries with ‘self’, and suffer the consequences later. May you choose, this day, to start down the path of yielding to His discipline.


Homer and Wanda