“A man’s temptation is due to the pull of his own inward desires.”
Jas 1:14 PHPS
For the next few days let’s look at how to develop self-control. Here’s the first step: Accept responsibility for your lack of self-control. Admit your problem. “A man’s temptation is due to the pull of his own inward desires, which greatly attract him.” The main reason you do things0is because you like to! When you know something’s bad for you but you still do it. It’s because you want to. Sometimes we try to ignore the problem of self-control of denying it: “What problem? I don’t have a problem,” or It’s just the way I am,” or “The Devil made me do it.” As long as you waste your energy making excuses, you can’t make progress. James points out that we like to take the path of least resistance, and giving in to temptation is usually the easiest course. The starting point for developing self-control is to face what God has already said in His Word: “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (Jn 8:34 NIV). Do you want more self-control? Then admit you have a problem, and be specific about it: “I have this problem. This is where I need help.” You may have a problem with food, drink, drugs, words, your temper, money, exercise, sex, TV, clothes, time-all these areas need self-control. So today get down on your knees and talk to God about the problem, believing that with His help you’ll be able to solve it.
“Remember, each of us will stand personally before the Judgment Seat of God.”
Ro 14:10 TLB
Judgment day will be characterized by two things: rewards and regrets! Jesus highlights this is the story of three servants who were given talents to invest on behalf of their master. The first two invested well and were rewarded, while the third one buried his talent and was judged accordingly. The first two considered their options, crunched the numbers, took the plunge, and were willing to risk failure. As a result, their boss said, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Mt 25:21 NKJV). Now, God doesn’t reward foolishness. So before you make a move, talk it over with Him (See Pr 3:5-6). The third servant, however, said, “I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground” (Mt 25:25 NKJV). He made the most common and tragic mistake when it comes to giftedness He failed to benefit his Master with his talent. Some invest their talents and give God credit, while others misuse theirs and give Him grief. Some honor Him with “fruit,” while others insult Him with excuses. And how does God feel about the latter?“Get rid of this ‘play-it-safe’ who won’t go out on a limb” (Mt 25:29 MSG). Fear is the opposite of faith, and “without faith, it is impossible to please [God]” (Heb 11:6). So this year step out in faith; God won’t let you down. Take a risk; He won’t fail you. Even if you stumble on your way to success, He encourages you to envision the day when you’ll feel His hand on your shoulder and hear the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid…[of] them!”
Dt 31:6 NLT
Incredible though it may seem, when Israel encountered difficulties in the wilderness, they wanted to return to their old life of slavery in Egypt. The security of the known was less threatening to them than the challenges of the unknown. So the Lord said to them, not once, but twice, “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid…[of] them…the Lord your God will…go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor [forsake] you.” Why did He say that? Because it’s in taking action that you overcome your fear! When you challenge your fears, you master them. When you wrestle with your problems, they lose their grip on you. When you dare to confront the things that scare you, you open the door to the future. A wise man once said, “Take the bull by the horns until you have him screaming for mercy.” Almost without exception every man and woman in the Bible whom God called to do great things felt inadequate, and told Him so. And how did God respond to them? “I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand: (Isa 41:10 NLT). Author John Mason writes: “The desire for safety stands against every great and virtuous dream. Security, many times, is the first step toward stagnation. Boldness in vision is the first, second, and third most important thing. If you dare nothing, you should expect nothing.” So whatever opportunity or obstacle you’re facing today, factor God in. With Him on your side, what you have is always greater than whatever you lack.
"Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.”
Isa 41:10 NLT
Two of our biggest fears are-failure and criticism. And they never completely go away. You can overcome them, but they’ll show up when you face your next challenge. It’s in accepting fear as part of life’s journey instead of running from it, that you learn to conquer it. Indeed, as you look back at what you’ve already overcome, you realize that most times failure doesn’t do permanent damage-you, “Don’t be afraid grow stronger through it. If you’re anxious today, God is saying to you, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.” So trust Him, and get out of your comfort zone! An unknown poet wrote: “I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I couldn’t fail; the same four walls of busywork were really more like jail. I longed so much to do the things I’d never done before, but stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor. I said it didn’t matter that I wasn’t doing much; I said I didn’t care for things like dreams and goals and such. I claimed to be so busy with the things inside my zone, but deep inside I longed for something special of my own. I couldn’t let my life go by just watching others win; I held my breath and stepped outside and let the change begin. I took a step, and with new strength I’d never felt before, I kissed my comfort zone goodbye, then closed and locked the door, If you are in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out, remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt: The word for you today is: This year, get out of your comfort zone.
“Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.”
Php 3:13 NKJV
Be honest: How many of last year’s resolutions did you keep? They say, “Procrastination is the thief of time.” We keep promising ourselves we’ll do better. But “resolutions” only happen when you’re “resolute.” That means having a mind that’s made up. So here are four resolutions you need to make up your mind to keep this year: (1) Take time for what really matters. Get up earlier in order to read your Bible and pray before entering the day. Make more time for your family. Start exercising and eating right. Take better care of your body; it’s God’s temple (See 1 Co 6:19). (2) Tackle one thing at a time. Taking on too many things at once dilutes your focus and makes it harder to stick with things. When you start too much, you finish too little. So start where you are and build on your successes by mastering and maintaining one thing at a time. (3) Start small. Don’t try to swallow the whole enchilada in one bite; baby steps are the name of the game. Talk in terms of what you will do instead of what you want. For example, instead of saying, “I’m not going to be so critical, “try saying, “Today I’m going to look for something good in everyone I meet” (See Php 4:8). (4) Record your progress or lack of it. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. By facing the truth you’ll see how far you’ve come, and what you still need to work on. The Bible says, “Throw yourself into your tasks so…everyone will see your progress” (1Ti 4:15 NLT).