It is better to have self-control than to conquer a city (Proverbs 16:32).
Some years ago, a young man emerged as a powerful evangelistic preacher. He was handsome, intelligent, and so exceptional that he was even courted by Hollywood.
After one eloquent sermon, he was described by the press as "the greatest preacher since the apostle Paul."
Ten years later, however, the young man was found dying of cirrhosis of the liver, too weak to continue supporting himself as he had been by selling trucks at a local dealership. Sadly, alcohol and financial irresponsibility were blamed for taking his life just days later.
Clifford lacked one essential quality necessary for sustained leadership: self-control. And it is the lack of self-control that frequently renders a disciple of Christ spiritually impotent and fruitless.
I once counseled and prayed with a husband and wife who were struggling with a problem of self-control in the area of overeating. Because of their overweight, they had lost self-confidence and were plagued with guilt. As a result, their witness for Christ was greatly hindered.
Then one day, while reading the Scriptures, they realized that their bodies were the temple of the Holy Spirit and that they were actually dishonoring the Lord by their lack of self-control.
In a spirit of brokenness, they prayed, "O, God, please help us. We have tried and failed again and again. Now you must help us. We invite you to control our appetites. Help us to be more careful in choosing the kind and quantity of food we eat."
In answer to their prayers of faith, God enabled them to discipline themselves. In time they slimmed down. Their self-confidence returned, and they again became bold witnesses for our Lord.
After counseling with thousands of people through the years, I am convinced that an undisciplined Christian cannot be an effective witness for Christ.
Do you lack self-control in some area of your life? You may not have a problem with alcohol or overeating, but you may be struggling with a critical spirit, with lustful thoughts, addiction to pornography, a feeling of defeat, an uncontrollable temper, or something else. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Ask for His help. Believe Him for the answer that you know is His will, according to 1 John 5:14-15: "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us -- whatever we ask -- we know that we have what we asked of him" (NIV).
God says, "It is better to have self-control than to control an army" (Proverbs 15:32, TLB).
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
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