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How Will It Take Place

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How Will It Take Place?

…..make every effort…….

I grow in other areas of my life – I improve as a golfer because I go golfing and I practice.  In what other areas of your life have you improved this past year and why has that been?

I grow spiritually in relationship to God and others.  They are inseparable. 

God’s love language is obedience.  We love people best when we love them in their native language.

Accidental

Incidental

Coincidental

Intentional

Action Blocking Axioms

What are the beliefs or attitudes that keep us from taking action today?

q    I don’t have enough time to . . . .

q    I’m too old to . . . .

q    I’m going to when . . . .

q    I’m afraid that . . . .

q    I would but that’s not me . . . .

q    I’m a late night person . . . .

q    I’m a morning person . . . .

q    I can’t . . . .

I spent a fortune

On a trampoline,

A stationary bike

And a rowing machine

Complete with gadgets

To read my pulse,

And gadgets to prove

My progress results,

And others to show

The miles I've charted --

But they left off the gadget

To get me started!

The greatest changes are made over time with the smallest changes in direction.

Avoid negative self-talk.  If you tell yourself repeatedly that you can’t possibly succeed at doing something then you won’t.

Self- control is just that and no more.  God does expect us to exercise it and we are always more happy when we do.  It involves saying both “yes” and “no”.  Self-denial and self-mastery.  God does not intend for us to be “mastered” by anything.

Putting up resistance

Saying “no” to ungodliness.

Ruling your body.

Victory breeds victory.  Each time we win we increase our thirst to win further.

How Do I Develop Self-Control In My Life?

These are some things that have helped me through the years:

   1. Start small.  Start with your room.  Clean it, then keep it clean.  When something is out of place, train yourself to put it where it belongs.  Then extend that discipline of neatness to the rest of your home.

   2. Be on time.  That may not seem very spiritual, but it's important.  If you're supposed to be somewhere at a specific time, be there on time!  Develop the ability to discipline your desires, activities, and demands so that you can arrive on time.

   3. Do the hardest job first.  Doing that will prevent the hardest jobs from being left undone.

   4. Organize your life.  Plan the use of your time; don't just react to circumstances.  Use a calendar and make a daily list of things you need to accomplish.  If you don't control your time, everything else will!

   5. Accept correction.  Correction helps make you more disciplined because it shows you what you need to avoid.  Don't avoid criticism; accept it gladly.

   6. Practice self-denial.  Learn to say no to your feelings. Occasionally deny yourself things that are all right just for the purpose of mastering doing it.  Cultivating discipline in the physical realm will help us become disciplined in our spiritual lives.

   7. Welcome responsibility.  When you have an opportunity to do something that needs to be done, volunteer for it if you have a talent in that area.  Welcoming responsibility forces you to organize yourself.

n      John MacArthur, Jr.

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies;

for the hardest victory is the victory over self.

Aristotle

Christian psychiatrists Drs. Frank B. Minirth and Paul D. Meier insist that any patient of theirs who is a Christian must be honest and use language that expresses the reality of the situation.  In their book Happiness is a Choice, the authors state, "... we cringe whenever patients use the word 'can't'. They say, for example, 'I just can't get along with my husband.' 'I can't give up the affair I'm having.'  'I can't stop overeating.'  'I can't love my wife'.... If an individual changes all his can'ts to won't's, he stops avoiding the truth, quits deceiving himself, and starts living in reality." There is no slave like the man free to do as he pleases because what he pleases is self-destructive.  A California psychiatrist recently complained that four out of every ten teenagers and young adults who visited his medical center have a psychological sickness he can do nothing about.  According to the Los Angeles Times it is simply this:  "Each of them demands that his world conform to his uncontrolled desires.  Society has provided him with so many escape routes that he never has to stand his ground against disappointment, postponement of pleasure and the weight of responsibility -- all forces which shape character."  The psychiatrist adds, "If the personality disorder persists far into adulthood there will be a society of pleasure-driven people hopelessly insecure and dependent."

The most dangerous man in the world is the contemplative who is guided by nobody.  He trusts his own visions.  He obeys the attractions of an interior voice but will not listen to other men.  He identifies the will of God with anything that makes him feel, within his own heart, a big, warm, sweet interior glow.  The sweeter and the warmer the feeling is, the more he is convinced of his own infallibility.

... Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Seeds of Contemplation

Perhaps several illustrations will help us understand more clearly this matter of yielding ourselves to God's will.  In Romans 6, Paul (as we have seen) uses the illustration of a slave who has a new master.  Professor William Barclay reminds us about the real meaning of Paul's analogy:

   "When we think of a servant, in our sense of the word, we think of a man who gives a certain agreed part of his time to his master, and who receives a certain agreed wage for doing so. Within that agreed time he is at the disposal and in the command of his master.  But, when that time ends, he is free to do exactly as he likes.  But in Paul's time, the status of the slave was quite different.  Quite literally he had no time which belonged to himself.  He had no moment when he was free.  Every single moment of his time belonged to his master.  He was the absolutely exclusive possession of his master, and there was no one single moment of his life when he could do as he liked.  In Paul's time a slave could never do what he liked; it was impossible for him to serve two masters, because he was the exclusive possession of one master.  That is the picture that is in Paul's mind."

Dying To Self

When you are forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don't sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ, that is dying to self.

When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take in all in patient, loving silence, that is dying to self.

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any impunctuality, or any annoyance; when you stand face-to-face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility - and endure it as Jesus endured, that is dying to self.

When you are content with any food, any offering, any climate, any society, any raiment, any interruption by the will of God, that is dying to self.

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after commendations, when you can truly love to be unknown, that is dying to self.

When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances, that is dying to self.

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart, that is dying to self.

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 16:24-25).

When you get what you want in your struggle for self

   And the world makes you king for a day,

   Just go to a mirror and look at yourself,

   And see what THAT man has to say.

   For it isn't your father or mother or wife

   Who judgment upon you must pass;

   The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life

   Is the one staring back from the glass.

   Some people may think you a straight-shootin' chum

   And call you a wonderful guy,

   But the man in the glass says you're only a bum

   If you can't look him straight in the eye.

   He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest

   For he's with you clear up to the end,

   And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test

   If the man in the glass is your friend.

   You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years

   And get pats on the back as you pass,

   But your final reward will be heartaches and tears

   If you've cheated the man in the glass.

See:  Psa 40:12

William Barclay writes:

It's possible to be a follower of Jesus without being a disciple; to be a camp-follower without being a soldier of the king; to be a hanger-on in some great work without pulling one's weight.  Once someone was talking to a great scholar about a younger man.  He said, "So and so tells me that he was one of your students."  The teacher answered devastatingly, "He may have attended my lectures, but he was not one of my students."  There is a world of difference between attending lectures and being a student.  It is one of the supreme handicaps of the Church that in the Church there are so many distant followers of Jesus and so few real disciples.

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