What encouraging promise has God given to those striving to control their thoughts and feelings?
Hebrews 5:14  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Note: “The power of self-restraint strengthens by exercise. That which at first seems difficult, by constant repetition grows easy, until right thoughts and actions become habitual.” {MH 491.3}

If we are to master our feelings what must we be?
1 Corinthians 9:25  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.
Note: Temperance is listed as part of the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ in Galatians 5:22-23. Temperance is self-control. If we desire to master our feelings we need the Holy Spirit and to exercise self-control in seeing, eating, thinking, and all things.

How do I control my feelings?
“If the thoughts are wrong, the feelings will be wrong; and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character.” {Messages to Young People Pg. 92}
Note: If your thoughts are right, your feelings will be right. Your thoughts are influenced by the 5 avenues of the soul, hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Guarding these five gates will protect us from enemy sentiments and feelings from penetrating our lives.

Listening to and singing Godly music drives the tempter away
1 Samuel 16:23  And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.
Note: “Song is a weapon that we can always use against discouragement. As we thus open the heart to the sunlight of the Saviour’s presence, we shall have health and His blessing.” {Ministry of Healing pg. 254}

Were our thoughts and feelings given to us to be allowed to run riot and have its own way, without any effort at restraint or discipline?
2 Corinthians 10:4  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
2 Corinthians 10:5  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Note: Romans 6:16  “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey…?” “When you decide that as Christians you are not required to restrain your thoughts and feelings, you are brought under the influence of evil angels, and invite their presence and their control.” {Messages to Young People pg. 92}

What two things should our feelings be under the control of?
“Even your thoughts must be brought into subjection to the will of God, and your feelings under the control of reason and religion.” {Messages to Young People Pg. 92}

What is reason?
Luke 5:22  But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?

What is pure religion?
James 1:27  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Note: Pure religion is visiting others “in their affliction”. It’s not focusing on our own afflictions. Earnest and self-sacrificing labour for others is what constitutes the true religion that our feelings are to be brought under the control of. By working for others disinterestedly our feelings will be renewed with grace, peace, joy, and love.

What should I do when I’m tempted to complain of what someone has said or done?
Philippians 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Note: “When tempted to complain of what someone has said or done, praise something in that person’s life or character. Cultivate thankfulness. Praise God for His wonderful love in giving Christ to die for us. It never pays to think of our grievances. God calls upon us to think of His mercy and His matchless love, that we may be inspired with praise.” {Ministry of Healing pg. 492} Evil-thinking of others is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. If we were to “cultivate thankfulness” as we would cultivate a garden by diligent, earnest, and persevering effort with our tool-in-hand then we would obtain the victory. Even thankfulness and praise are like muscles. The more we exercise them the easier they become to default to throughout our everyday experiences.

What should I do if I’m struggling with wrong thoughts towards a certain person?
Romans 12:17  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
Romans 12:18  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Romans 12:19  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Romans 12:20  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Romans 12:21  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Note: “Cultivate the habit of speaking well of others. Dwell upon the good qualities of those with whom you associate, and see as little as possible of their errors and failings.” {Ministry of Healing pg. 492}

Why do I find myself dwelling so often upon the faults of others?
1 Timothy 5:13  And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
Note: “Earnest workers have no time for dwelling upon the faults of others. We cannot afford to live on the husks of others’ faults or failings.” {Ministry of Healing pg. 492}

What will happen if we scatter the seed of dissension and strife?
Galatians 6:7  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Note: “Evilspeaking is a twofold curse, falling more heavily upon the speaker than upon the hearer. He who scatters the seeds of dissension and strife reaps in his own soul the deadly fruits.” {Ministry of Healing pg. 492} Would it make sense to plant a dandelion seed in the ground and expect a tomato? God has described our work as when “a sower went forth to sow” Matthew 13:3. In this parable “The seed is the word of God” Luke 8:11. Instead of scattering “the seed of dissension and strife” we can plant that which has the power to make others “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God” 1 Peter 1:23. We have the divine promise when we determine to sow the precious seeds of the gospel in the ears of our hearers that it will provide us a cure for our depression, sadness, and grief. “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.Psalms 126:5-6. When speaking to others let us always bear in mind the principle of Christ in Matthew 12:30 “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”

What does the act of looking for evil in others do in those who look?
Romans 2:1  Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
Romans 2:2  But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
Romans 2:3  And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
Romans 2:4  Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearancef and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Note: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 “The very act of looking for evil in others develops evil in those who look. By dwelling upon the faults of others, we are changed into the same image. But by beholding Jesus, talking of His love and perfection of character, we become changed into His image. By contemplating the lofty ideal He has placed before us, we shall be uplifted into a pure and holy atmosphere, even the presence of God. When we abide here, there goes forth from us a light that irradiates all who are connected with us.” {Ministry of Healing pg. 492}

Instead of criticizing and condemning others, what should I do?
1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
1 Corinthians 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Note: “Instead of criticizing and condemning others, say, “I must work out my own salvation [Philippians 2:12]. If I co-operate with Him who desires to save my soul, I must watch myself diligently. I must put away every evil from my life. I must overcome every fault. I must become a new creature in Christ. Then, instead of weakening those who are striving against evil, I can strengthen them by encouraging words.” {Ministry of Healing Pg. 492}

How should we act towards them which ‘despitefully’ use us?
Matthew 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Note: “We are too indifferent in regard to one another. Too often we forget that our fellow laborers are in need of strength and cheer. Take care to assure them of your interest and sympathy. Help them by your prayers, and let them know that you do it.”  {Ministry of Healing Pg. 492}

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