Giving away some of our hard earned money to the Lord’s work, or to people in need is a difficult discipline. There is always something that we could spend that money on, and most of the time it is really important. 😌 Proverbs 11:25 says, “The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered.” God is totally aware of all that we do, and the state of our heart, and He encourages right choices and good behavior by rewarding us when we do what pleases Him. Very few things bring more reward and blessing from God than sacrificial giving does. I think the reason this is true is because worldliness is one of our major enemies, and keeps many people from becoming what they have the potential to become. 1 John in the New Testament says that “if we love money the love of God is not in us”. Sacrificial giving is the key way to stay in love with God.
The more I talk the more apt I am to stick my foot on my mouth! Proverbs 10:19 says, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.” Whenever I enter a room with people or enter any social setting, I say to myself, “don’t talk to much”. I can easily get sucked into conversations where I will argue, complain, slander someone, gossip, say something that is unkind, say something to attract attention to myself, or exaggerate to impress or make a point. Later as I recall the time I groan over my stupidity and lack of self-control. I then confess my sin whichever one of the many possibilities it is, and tell God I won’t do that ever again, and please help me not to be such a blabber mouth. My mouth is my greatest asset and tool as a teacher of the Bible, but it is also the source of most of the sins I commit. How can this be!!??
We can see and hear pride in another person easily, and we don’t like it, but we don’t see or sense the pride that is in our own life very well. Proverbs 16:5. “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.” That is a pretty strong statement “is an abomination to the Lord”, it looks like the Lord doesn’t like proud people either. I regularly have thoughts and fairly long thought processes that are clearly prideful. The thoughts are not only very prideful, but also very critical, and pride and critical go together. I want to conquer that character flaw and make it go away. I don’t want God to consider me an abomination and to resist everything I do. This verse and others like it I have memorized and whenever I hear my thoughts moving in the direction of haughtiness I switch over to thinking and meditating on the verses. It is very easy to think prideful thoughts, but it is very hard to conquer and to overcome them. I think about the Consequences if I don’t, “assuredly he will not go unpunished”, and I am motivated to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
This week, Monday through Friday was JBC’s “Five Days of Prayer”, and I have been praying in the prayer room with about 20 other people, usually a different 20 each hour, for 8 hours each day. It has been a very rich time for me, not only the praying but the time with so many different people praying. There is something about praying together that is especially bonding.
But during this five days I still have my normal disciplines and responsibilities to get done so time gets very tight. I regularly say, “anybody can do just about anything for just five days”. So I sleep less, walk faster, work faster, cut short times of doing nothing but relaxing, reduce chit chat times, cut out “honey do’s” 🙂 and read my “to do list” often to stay on task.
Now I wouldn’t want to live like this all the time, but occasionally it is a good exercise of learning how to get more done in the same time, or in this case the same done in less time. I have often said when teaching on “Time Management” that we aren’t managing time, we are managing ourselves.
Self-leadership is a learned skill, and self-control is a character trait which work together. Periodic times in our life where there is an marked increase in pressure because of an added event, an unexpected emergency, or other people needing our attention, are good times to practice self-leadership and self-control. They don’t last forever, usually a week or so, and then back to normal so pretend that the high pressure week is a visit to the gym where you are sweating and doubling your heart rate so that you will be healthier.