Lessons in Self-Control
EXERCISE SELF-CONTROL TO BE WORTHY OF RESPECT AND TO LIVE WISELY.
Bible Reading of the Day: Read Titus 2:1-6.
Verse of the Day: “A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls” (Proverbs 25:28).
“Mom, Dad, do I have to take piano lessons?” Curt asked. It was time for his weekly piano lesson, and he would have preferred to do almost anything else.
“Well, Curt,” Mom said, “why don’t you want to take piano lessons?”
“Because,” Curt answered, “piano lessons are boring.”
Dad joined the conversation. “They’re not as boring as they used to be, are they?”
“Well, no,” Curt said, “but they’re still boring.” “But you like playing the piano,” Mom countered.
“I like playing the piano, but I don’t like taking lessons.”
“But taking lessons is how you got to the point where you are now, where you can sit down and play almost anything you want,” Mom said. Curt sighed. “I know,” he admitted.
“In fact,” Dad said, “piano lessons are a good example of the way self-control and self-discipline can benefit us. You probably don’t remember your first lessons, but we do.” He exchanged smiles with his wife. “You had to play the same three notes over and over again.”
“But now you can sit down and play some of the songs you hear on the radio and songs we sing in church,” Mom added. “And you like being able to do that, don’t you?”
“Yeah, but-” Curt started.
“The enjoyment you get out of playing the piano now is a direct result of the lessons you’ve taken. If you had chosen immediate gratification when you first started lessons, you’d be able to play ‘Chopsticks’ now, but that’s about it. But you delayed some things you wanted to do-like watching TV or playing outside-and chose to practice instead. As a result, you get pleasure out of playing now.”
“OK, OK, I get the message,” Curt said. He acted annoyed, but he had to stifle a smile.
“Do you?” Dad said. “What’s the message?”
Curt rolled his eyes as he answered, in a singsong voice, “Piano lessons are good for me.”
“Not just piano lessons,” Mom answered, “but any time you exercise self-control and self-discipline, you’re adding to your abilities and accomplishments.”
“OK,” Curt said. “I think I’m going to go play the piano for a while now, OK?” “Really?” Mom said in an excited voice. “Dad and I must really be convincing, eh?” “No,” Curt answered teasingly. “I just want to get some peace and quiet!”
TO DISCUSS: What are the areas in which you find self-discipline hardest to maintain? How can exercising self-control add to your abilities and accomplishments?
TO PRAY: Take turns praying, “God, please help me to develop more self-control, especially in the areas of my life where I am weakest.”