Self Control in Thirty Days – Day Four
“25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. “[1Co 9:25 NASB]
The Apostle Paul suggests that the Christian life is to be lived as a person who is training and competing in the Olympic games. The greatness and significance of the event and the desire to do one’s best in the competition motivates us to have a discipline over aspect of our lives to obtain that goal. So for the Christian we can only exercise self-control if we know why we are doing it.
Without a purpose then self-control is nearly impossible. Self-control has to have a reason because it is harder to control our actions and words, than to simply react to whatever happens without thought or discipline. So without a deep passionate purpose then we will lack the energy we need to have self-discipline.
For Christians the great purpose is historically said to give glory to God.
“31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. “[1Co 10:31 NASB]
But what does that mean and why should I want God to be glorified?
To glorify someone is to make his or her greatness and goodness known as broadly as one can. It is to proclaim, reflect, and imitate the wonder of another person’s competence and character. So to glorify God would be to have a vision of God that was so awesome and wonderful we would want the whole world to see in us the magnitude of God as a person.
This vision is found in the gospel of Jesus the Messiah. It is a message that tells us that while we were yet sinners Messiah Jesus died for our sins and took our condemnation upon Himself so that we might be reconciled to God. This gospel story is about God seeking us, saving us at infinite cost, and now changing us from the inside out as HE lives in us.
The motivation for the Christian life is one of gratitude for being given the forgiveness of sins and full adoption into God’s family as a free gift through the suffering of Messiah Jesus and resurrection from the dead. The purpose and passion is to live a life worthy of such a great love.
“27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; “[Phl 1:27 NASB]
So every aspect of life is to be organized and disciplined to reflect the love, compassion, and wonder of the love of God found in the suffering of Jesus Christ for us. We discipline our lives that we might become like Jesus and influence others to see Jesus in us.
As the Holy Spirit helps us see the suffering of Jesus for our sins and the victory offered in HIS resurrection from the dead, this creates in us a love, which seeks then to structure, organize, and reflect every aspect of our lives in such a way as to honor the great love of God found in the Messiah Jesus. This is the fruit of self-discipline. It is simply faith defining consistently what a life of love for God and others would be if developed into a habitual and regulated lifestyle.
What do you not do because of your faith in the gospel?
What do you do because of your faith in the gospel?
What changes would you make in your life to make it more consistent with the gospel?
How could you make these changes?