Day 6: Tame It! Taming Our Actions
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV).
So often the black-and-white nature of Scripture can be cutting and hard to hear. But when we allow God’s words to direct us, we’ll realize that it’s actually refreshing that He instructs us in such a clear way.
The verse written above is one of those clear instructions and could really be the end of this post. We are asked to live in a way that glorifies God. Period. But the Bible is meant to help us, and therefore has much more specific instruction about this. So today we’ll look at what it says about how God wants us to tame our actions.
First, we’ll take a look at the negative side—what we should not do. Paul wrote to the Roman Christians, saying, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts” (Romans 6:12, NASB). Like the other parts of our body, this requires our effort. I’ve heard people say, “There is no passive process to overcome sin,” and that could not be more true. In order to tame our actions according to God’s Word, we must fight against sin. That may seem hard (because it is), but when we are saved by God’s grace, His Spirit lives in us and gives us help when we ask.
A Biblical example of this is Joseph, who, when faced with sin, literally ran from it (you can read the full story in Genesis 39). Even though it would have been really easy for Joseph to fall into temptation and do nothing (the passive choice), he chose what honored God and did not let sin reign in his body. He ran from it.
We are also called to not act like the rest of the world, whose actions are so often characterized by retaliation. Paul wrote, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:17-18, NIV).
Again, the post could end there; the words of Scripture are so clear. But as we think about it further, we are reminded of Jesus on the cross. He did exactly what we read in that verse: He did not react wrongly, He did not retaliate, but He willingly gave up His own life for ours.
If He did that for us, we should make it our aim, in every situation, to do the same. When someone speaks negatively to us, we should respond in kindness. If someone hurts us, we should forgive them. It’s hard, but it’s what God asks of us. And when we remember that He gave us His only Son, how could we do anything else?
But what does the Bible say we should do? It can be summarized with Jesus’ words: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
There is no exception. There are no conditions. We are meant to love others, like Jesus did. It requires action and the utmost selflessness. There could be no greater example of this than when Jesus laid down His life for us on the cross. He died in our place so we could be forgiven and brought back to God. He used His life exactly as God intended.
One more instruction we’ll look at says this: “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14, NIV). Live in peace with others. Strive for holiness (being like Jesus). Make every effort. It’s a high calling, and it should consume our lives because, really, it is our lives. Becoming more like Jesus is truly all that God wants from us. And this is so important because when we are more like Him, as this verse emphasizes, others will see God through how we act. So do they?
There are many other examples in the Bible of what tamed actions look like, but it can be summarized as this: tamed actions will result from someone who loves others like Jesus does. And so with that goal in mind, let’s obey these words:
“Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14).