“He that rules his spirit is greater than he that takes a city.” Proverbs 16:32 (KJV)
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 affect 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..
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.
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 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.
Each week inside of prison I meet with several groups of guys and study a principle with the goal of cultivating a values-driven, God-centered lifestyle.
For more on this Principle see Global Priority.