Saturday, September 29, 2012

September 30, 2012

"For this very reason make every effort to add to your faith, goodness and to goodness, knowledge and to knowledge, SELF-CONTROL." II Peter 1:5-6
Several years ago the ABC news show "20/20" did an experiment on self-control with a group of pre-schoolers. The reporter told the children they could have a cookie right then or they could choose to wait some 20 or 30 minutes until he returned from an errand and they would then get two cookies. Upon giving those instructions the reported left the room and the cameras watched how the children responded.
Of course, there were several who grabbed the cookie right away and munched on it in front of those trying to be more self-controlled and hold out for the double reward. The camera was trained on them as they tried to exercise restraint. One put his head down in his arms to remove the temptation. Another closed his eyes. Others sang, or hummed and one even tried to sleep. But they mastered self-control and were rewarded with two cookies.
A follow up study done years later revealed that those who were able to show self-control were happier and more successful in life and relationships. The self-indulgent ones were more anxious, more prone to depression and less successul than those with self-control.
Which group do you identify with? Would you grab the cookie or could you hold out for two?
Not only was this an educational and enteraining experiment but it revealed the three basic ways that people deal with life:
Self-dedicated - Those who always want the cookie and have to have it now! They make no effort to deprive themselves of anything they desire.
Self-medicated - Those who don't want to deal with the emotional, spiritual or mental pain caused by self-dedicated living and dull it by artificial means.
Self-controlled - Those who, in the strength of God and in the power of the Holy Spirit, are able to defer gratification and deal with pain in order to receive the better reward.
How would you identify yourself:
Will you surrender and live for God's joy rather than your own pleasure?
Will you discipline your destructive behavior and trust God to handle your pain?
Will you give control to God and give His Spirit control?

September 29, 2012

A self-centered, self-indulgent snob opened the door of his BMW, when suddenly a car came along and hit the door, ripping it off completely. When the police arrived at the scene, the yuppie was complaining bitterly about the damage to his precious BMW.
"Officer, look what they've done to my Beeeeemer!!!", he whined.
"You rich snobs are so materialistic, you make me sick!!!", retorted the officer. "You're so worried about your stupid BMW, that you didn't even notice that your left arm was ripped off!!!"
"Oh my gaaawd...," replied the rich snob, finally noticing the bloody left shoulder where his arm once was,
"Where's my Rolex?!!!!!"

This humorous story illustrates the self-dedicated life or the life given over to the all-out pursuit of pleasure.

Blaise Pascal said, "There is a God-shaped hole in the human heart." This self-centered snob knew something was missing but he didn't know what it was. Obviously, he thought he could fill the emptiness from the outside in.

Many people believe the same thing. Alexander the Great was able to conquer the entire known world by age 30 but he could not control his own passions. He died of syphilis in a drunken stupor at just 32.

The self-dedicated life always leads to sadness and often tragedy. Just ask Michael Jackson or Amy Winehouse or Whitney Houston, to name a few. People who live just for themselves often end up dying by themselves as victims of their own excesseses.

To the ambitious, self-motived, self-seeking, self-striving, self-interested person, Jesus says, "Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest."

To the sensuous, self-indulgent person seeking validation and acceptance, Jesus says, "I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly."

My mother says, "A person all wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package!"

Don't be that guy! Live large from the inside out!

Who do you think is the only ONE Who can completely fill that "God-shaped void" in the center of your being?

Then why not ask Him? Why not shift from self-dedicated to Savior dedicated?