Dominion of Self

Scripture for the day: "Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified."– 1 Cor. 9:26-27

Leonardo da Vinci was famously quoted as saying, "You will never have a greater or lesser dominion than that over yourself … the height of a man’s success is gauged by his self-mastery; the depth of his failure by his self-abandonment. …And this law is the expression of eternal justice. He who cannot establish dominion over himself will have no dominion over others." What a true and aptly stated fact of wielding dominion in any endeavor of life! Charity, it is said, begins at home, and if anyone would be able to take dominion in the physical and spiritual realms, it begins with oneself.

In our scripture reading for today, the Apostle Paul reveals one of the secrets of his highly successful life and ministry; the bedrock and timeless principles of having effective dominion in one’s life, especially the life of faith. The scripture speaks on the subject of having a keen and an unwavering focus in endeavors of life that are compatible with the will of God; likened to running a race with a definite end in sight and fighting with a clear target in mind. It proceeds to exhort on the subject of self-dominion through strict discipline of the flesh or the body. It is clear from the scripture that there are two persons contesting against each other for control or dominion in the life of the Apostle namely: the recreated spirit or the one referred to by the scriptures as the inner man or hidden man of the heart, and the flesh/body or the outer man. These two parts of the tripartite nature of man are in constant feud for control as attested to in Gal. 5:17, "For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish." A life controlled by the flesh or body results in the works of the flesh as stated in Gal. 5:19-21 and that under the dominion of the recreated spirit results in the fruit of the Spirit as stated in Gal. 5:22-23.

We can deduce from the scripture reading for today that one can be seen as being highly successful in the eyes of the world in certain endeavors of life and be totally disqualified in the eternal realm by God. The history books and news media are replete with stories of people including great preachers, presidents, teachers, doctors, parents etc. who seemed to have excelled in their various fields of endeavor but left horrible legacies because of lack of self-mastery or self-dominion. Apart from the multitudes whose unsavory deeds were revealed on earth, only God knows the number who will be disqualified in the final Day of Judgment when the secrets of men and women are revealed. Adam and Eve were created and given a divine mandate of having dominion over all the animate and inanimate things on earth as stated in Gen. 1:28, "Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." They failed or were disqualified in executing this great mandate because they did not start with self-dominion as they succumbed to the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life.

The foundation of effective dominion in the physical and spiritual realms of life is "dominion of self." The dominion of all other things in life is the superstructure of the bedrock of self-dominion. If through the Spirit of God one can bring under subjection one’s unrighteous anger, lust, envy, greed, drunkenness, pride, adultery, fornication, lying tongue and the other inordinate desires of the flesh, one would be guaranteed a very solid foundation to take dominion in every aspect of life to the glory of God. "Dominion begins at home" so let your recreated spirit or inner man start the process of disciplining the body or outer man from this day onwards; and be prepared for an unprecedented display of dominion in all that concerns you this year and beyond.

Memory verse: "And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." – Gal. 5:24

Rev. Dr. Isaac Paintsil ©