“He that rules his spirit is greater than he that takes a city. ” Proverbs 16:32 (KJV)

By John E. Schrock, Businessman

Underline the key concepts found in this principle.

Ruling our spirit is managing our behavior or emotions. Behavior is directly affected by our emotions. We are spirit, soul, and body. The body reacts to the emotions or disturbances of our soul. That is why the Proverb says, "He that rules his spirit...", meaning that we can rule it. Ruling our spirit is not always easy, because it is "what we really are". Everything that we hear, see, smell, taste or touch is entered into our mind, and it analyzes the situations and recommends a response. We (our spirit) then decide to react or respond, affecting our emotions (soul) and in the end our behavior (body). "He that ruleth his spirit" means "he who decides to discipline or manage his response." Someone said that it is just as bad to think something as to do it. This is not true, because thoughts alone do not effect other people. It is the action that causes the damage. We all have emotions; we can all get upset about things. But it is extremely important that we learn to calm and manage those feelings, or they will destroy us.

Cars are built with motors, brakes, transmissions, and steering wheels. They are designed to be used for going places. But if they are not managed or steered properly, they become dangerous. Then, that which was meant to be a blessing turns out to be for our own harm. God has made us similarly. He gave us hands to work, feet to walk, eyes to see, and brains to manage all of the body members. Our behavior is to be managed and ruled by our spirit, meaning we can and are responsible for what we do.

The value of a person is based on his ability to control and manage his temper, his habits and all of his emotions. We must understand that we communicate largely by our behavior. People judge us by our behavior because that’s what they see.

Uncontrolled emotions can ruin our reputation by slamming a door or giving a "mean look" without ever saying a word. Words are important, but the emotion we use to express them is even more important. At least 55% of our communications and impressions that we leave on people are nonverbal. The way we dress, walk and behave tells people if we are in charge of our emotions. The non-verbal body language we use says as much about our character as our words. When you are tempted to get defensive or argumentative, three ways of controlling your emotions are:

1. Stop and take a deep breath before you speak.

2. Consciously be aware of your body tension and posture.

3. Think of something humorous to say.

Sometimes our manners and actions speak so loudly that it becomes difficult to hear what we are saying. As someone said, "Let everyone know what you believe, and if necessary use words."

Emotions are like gasoline - they can be dangerous and destructive, but very valuable when controlled or channeled properly. The emotions in us are an energy. If that energy is harnessed, it becomes a valuable asset within us. How many times have we heard someone say, "That guy could be valuable if he would get his act (emotions) together." Remember that people will judge us by how we control our emotions, not just by what we say. The bottom line is - if we learn to calm our spirit, we will be in control of situations, rather than situations controlling us.

This principle is part of the one year character development program: Foundations For Achievement.

Thoughts to Ponder:
It can be very embarrassing to be wrong at the top of your voice..