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Tag Archives: self-control

Setting Aside Self

While social media is designed to express what you’re doing, thinking or updating your status, the Bible reminds readers of a much simpler time.  Before modern technological inventions, life revolved around family.  Whether this meant following in your father’s footsteps, setting out to explore a new frontier or take over a family business, you didn’t eat or drink without working hard.  People didn’t have idle time to contemplate whether your life was acceptable or worthy of by your peers.  Rather, selfish desires were set aside for the greater good.

Jesus called the crowd together with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and [e]take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me], Mark 8:34.

In the first century, Jesus set high standards for his followers.  There were no surprises or speculation about what to expect.  Rather, Jesus required a full commitment, setting aside any selfish ambitions or desires.  In addition, Jesus laid out three major steps as well as a willingness to endure whatever may come during your faith journey.  According to the gospel of Luke, these extreme measures caused lesser known disciples to turn away, unable to commit.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control, 2 Timothy 1:7.

To a certain extent, some people are so over committed today that they do nothing well.  Others withdraw, doing little or nothing outside of school or work.  According to the apostle Paul, discipline is available through the power of the Holy Spirit.  This unseen force is attainable through the fruits of the Spirit, but only when you set aside self.  Many individuals struggle throughout life with discipline due to the inability to say no to their flesh.  This weakness is stunting their growth, unable to break free to reach their full potential.  If you are willing and spiritual hungry, set aside self so that God’s will may come into focus.

by Jay Mankus

 

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It’s Not What You Say, but How You Say It

It doesn’t take much for a coach, parent or teacher to get under a teenager’s skin.  Sometimes the tone chosen is demeaning.  Others come across as pompous or smug, alienating the individual they are talking to.  Meanwhile, impatient adults have a tendency to take out their frustrations upon young people, creating an even greater generational gap.  This disconnect proves that it’s not always what you say, but how you say it.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear, Ephesians 4:29.

When you are reading a book, sometimes the context of previous events isn’t a hundred percent clear.  Thus, you are forced to go back to make sure you haven’t missed anything important.  In the passage above, you have to understand who Saul was before he changed his name to Paul.  This former Pharisee was a perfectionist, critical by nature, eager to point out flaws.  Therefore, the words Paul choses serves as a reminder to himself and his leaders within the church at Ephesus to focus on the positive, not the negative.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control, 2 Timothy 1:7.

While writing a letter to a teenager, Paul reveals an important truth about the Holy Spirit.  Although the world tends to emphasize imperfections, staying optimistic isn’t impossible.  Rather, one of the fruits of God’s spirit is self-control, the discipline to control your own tongue.  The language you choose to express daily is a conscious decision.  Unfortunately, many don’t realize the power of words.  Every coarse joke, put down and sarcastic remark influences others in a negative manner.  Therefore, make sure the next time you open your mouth, you think before speaking for it’s not what you say, but how you say it.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Paralysis of Sin

Terms like debilitating, immobility and incapacity describe symptoms of paralysis.  Those individuals whose lives are turned upside down by accidents, disease or extreme events are forced to go with life with several new obstacles to overcome.  Unfortunately, paralysis can attack souls through the presence and spread of sin.

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate, Romans 7:15.

The apostle Paul highlights how sin impacts individual actions.  Similar to an addiction, bad habit or compulsive behavior, the ability to maintain self-control is lost.  This phenomena is not exempt for Christians as anyone who plays with fire in the form of temptation will eventually get burned.  Thus, even a missionary like Paul was paralyzed by sin.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin, James 4:17.

One of the people who has made the greatest impact on my life is Skip Wilkins.  After becoming a high school All-American in 4 sports, Skip was paralyzed while water skiing before his senior year.  When colleges heard of his accident, all 2000 plus full scholarships were rescinded.  Skip’s faith helped him overcome this setback and eventually became a motivational speaker.  If it wasn’t for Skip Wilkins testimony, I still might be paralyzed by sin.  Yet, because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, you too can be set free from sin as there are no wheel chairs in heaven.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Wasted Breaths

Recently, I have noticed an unpleasant change in my life.  Whenever I find myself in a no win situation, complaining consumes my vocabulary.  While venting frustrations may feel good initially, I came to the conclusion I was wasting my breath.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, Philippians 2:14.

While there is nothing wrong with expressing disagreements, the Bible seeks to resolve and improve situations.  Grumbling or questioning others doesn’t help.  Rather, if I only can find a common ground, perhaps I won’t waste my breath anymore.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

In a letter addressing a community known for hostility, Paul encourages people to give thanks in all circumstances.  Thinking every thing in life will go your way in life is unrealistic; some sort of pipe dream, but the opposite is true.  In view of this, the next time you have the urge to explode in the form of wasted breaths, may God bring these verses to memory to avoid saying something you might regret.

by Jay Mankus

All the Fixings

One of the ways restaurants attempt to improve business is through monthly or season specials.  Whether its All You Can Eat, Buy One Get One Free or events like Crab Fest, these ads nudge families to go out to eat.  As for me, I enjoy restaurants with all the fixings like my families favorite Chinese buffet.  Although I don’t always practice self-control, my hunger is satisfied.

Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you, Jeremiah 32:17.

Beside food, there is another type of fixing which exists.  Whether its a parent with a child, teacher with a student or spouse with a husband or wife, some become obsessed with fixing other people.  While these intentions are good, some people like who they are.  Thus, when you may mean well, many people don’t what to change or simply aren’t ready yet.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, Ephesians 3:20.

In the end, its probably better to let God do all the fixing.  While you wait for those whom you love to come around, the best thing you can do is pray.  This may involve doing prayer walks through a room, seeking the advice of others and fasting for a specific need.  If you take the words of the apostle above, remember the power of God who is able to do far more abundantly than the human mind can imagine.  Let the fixings begin.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Let Yourself Go

To deter drug use during the 1980’s, Nancy Reagan came up with the slogan “Just Say No.”  While some historians have labeled this former public service announcement a failure, she was on the right track.  People don’t wake up and become addicts over night.  Rather, addictions develop through a series of poor choices, one compromising decision at a time.  Thus, a far better warning is don’t let yourself go where evil lurks.

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls, Proverbs 25:28.

Discipline is a vehicle to keep individuals out of danger.  Similarly, self-control can guide people when they are tired or weary.  Nonetheless, temptation attacks minds, implanting fantasies, lustful desires and ill-conceived ideas.  Escaping these thoughts require divine intervention.  However, prayer does not always prevent people from tasting forbidden fruit, going beyond defined boundaries into the unknown longing for a permanent high.

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified, 1 Corinthians 9:27.

Yesterday, I missed working out for the first time in 2017.  Sure, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I know what this decision can result in.  As an expert snoozer, not getting up the first time your alarm goes off can set a precedent.  The next time you roll over to hit snooze sends a message which feeds your sinful nature, “I’ll get up when I want to.”  If you have great expectations for 2017, don’t let yourself go any further.  Before laziness takes over, trust in the Lord to keep you on track to fulfill what God has called you to do.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Don’t Make a Big Deal About It

In this current age of social media, immediate reactions and thoughts are often broadcast to the world to read.  However, now with the recent addition of Facebook Live, individuals can stream video live that is unfiltered.  When some try to attain 15 seconds of fame like the 4 teenagers in Chicago, that which was meant for good can be corrupted by an axis of evil.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings, Proverbs 25:2.

During times of uncertainty, people tend to seek out advice, guidance or wisdom to figure out what to do next.  2 Kings 18-20 details the reign of Hezekiah, the king of Judah.  Described as one of the godliest leaders in the Bible, Hezekiah wasn’t satisfied with the pieces of the Old Testament he had access to, seeking out previous writings of Solomon.  One of the suggestions Hezekiah discovered was when something occurs, try not to make a big deal about this.

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense, Proverbs 19:11.

To extract what Solomon means by the phrase “conceal a matter,” you have to go back a few chapters to understand the true meaning.  Based upon the context of chapter 19, the intent refers to avoid over-reacting.  In the heat of the moment, human nature tempts people to retaliate.  Yet, those who practice self-control by restraining your emotions, it is to God’s glory.

by Jay Mankus

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