December 16, 2019

Self Control To Finish Well

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 16, 2019

Athletes in training are very strict with themselves, exercising self-control over desires, and for what? For a wreath that soon withers or is crushed or simply forgotten. That is not our race. We run for the crown that we will wear for eternity. So I don’t run aimlessly. I don’t let my eyes drift off the finish line. 1 Corinthians 9:25-26, The Voice

My wife Rita and I, recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary touring the ruins of Olympia, Greece, home of the first Olympic games, over 700 years before Jesus. We were pleasantly surprised to learn from our Greek guide Studi, the character expectation for the behavior of Olympic athletes. Interestingly, every four years those invited to participate in the games, were required to arrive 30 days before the first event, so their interaction with fellow athletes could be observed by the judges. Humility, honesty and deference to others were some traits the judges looked for in these rising role models. Did they use self-control to finish well?

The apostle Paul practically illustrates the Christian’s self-control as a servant of Christ; the man who quietly and selflessly worked a day job so he wouldn’t be a financial burden on his brothers and sisters in Christ. Willingly, he submitted his interests to Jesus first, an  intentional effort to finish well. This devoted disciple kept his eyes on the finish line of faith, anticipating the reward of being with God. Paul practiced self-controlled to lovingly finish well. 

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10).

Is your life all over the map, or with the Holy Spirit’s guidance do you map out your life? Self control seeks to have a plan, so there is margin to make a difference in another person’s life. When our spirit is nudged by the Spirit, we seek opportunities to make a way for a seeking soul to find Jesus. By God’s grace dial back prayer-less busyness, so you can be intentional with your time. Do you prayerfully define your agenda or default to what others say? Self-control seeks to serve others. 

Would the content of your character qualify for God’s spiritual Olympics? When people see you coming are they energized by your willingness to love on them, or are they depleted by your self absorption? Practice self control, so you can make meaningful contributions to your community and friends. Perhaps you start by limiting the amount of days you travel a month or the days of the week you are out at night. Maybe at meal times use a smaller plate, eat modestly and skip dessert. Most of all, surrender control to the Spirit and allow His influence to instruct your life. 

“So be careful how you live; be mindful of your steps. Don’t run around like idiots as the rest of the world does. Instead, walk as the wise! Make the most of every living and breathing moment because these are evil times. So understand and be confident in God’s will, and don’t live thoughtlessly. Don’t drink wine excessively. The drunken path is a reckless path. It leads nowhere. Instead, let God fill you with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:15-18, The Voice).

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I submit to your Spirit’s influence. Please mold my spirit into following your will, in Jesus’ name, amen.


Application

What activity do I need to give up, so I am available to serve someone else?


Related Reading

Proverbs 16:32, 25:28; 1 Corinthians 9:25; Titus 1:8


Post/Tweet today

Self control seeks to have a plan, so there is margin to make a difference in another person’s life. #wisdomhunters #selfcontrol #truth #Jesus


Worship Resource

4 minute video- Christy Nockels: 


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