New Year’s resolutions. When you hear that phrase do you get excited about your goals for the year or cringe because you’ve already broken them? Whether it’s being consistent at the gym, being nicer to that difficult neighbor or promising to make more time in your life for the “better things,” self-control can be easy to talk about but difficult to follow through on. More important than the “what” is the “why” behind everything we do. With the wrong motivation, physical self-control can easily lead to pride or insecurity instead of a way we can glorify God.
MEMORY VERSE: “A person without self-control is like a city with broken down walls." PROVERBS 25:28 (NLT)
After God rescued the Israelites from Egypt He led them into the desert where, because of their disobedience, they had to wander for 40 years. There were a lot of Israelites and deserts aren’t known for having a lot of food. God promised to take care of their physical needs but gave them specific rules about food and work because He knew what was best. He even gave them a very special day every week, the Sabbath, when they could rest and take extra time to be with Him. Just like the Israelites, we can honor God by having self-control with the very special gift God has given each of us, our bodies!
At dinner ask your family how they could honor God physically. Explain that “honor” means to give credit and respect to God. A way to honor God could be sitting still when you are asked. Choosing not to hit your sibling can be an example of physical self-control that also brings honor to God. Finish by reading 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Discuss how physical self-control is important because our bodies are God’s temple.
Have fun teaching your kids what the memory verse, Proverbs 25:28, means this week by building a fort out of blankets, tables and chairs. After finishing your fort crawl inside with your family. Explain that when you are inside the fort you are safe, and explain how the walls of the fort represent God’s way for your life. God’s way protects you and is what is best for you. Then talk about if you broke down the walls of the fort because you didn't have self-control, you would no longer be safe. Finish by reading the verse inside the fort, and praying that God will give you the grace and strength you need to have self-control.
As you are putting your kids down for bed, explain how God has designed and even commanded us to rest. Resting takes self-control, because what we want doesn't always correspond with what our body needs. For example, fun things are happening around every corner and who doesn't want to do fun things? If you fill up all of your time with fun things then there's no room for rest, just like if you spend all of your time resting then you miss out on the fun. You can finish by committing to your family to have self-control in this area of rest. Teach your kids that too much fun can lead to your body getting run down or sick, just like too much rest could cause you to miss out on doing the work God wants you to do.
Write an encouraging note to each member of your family about how you have seen them display self-control. Remember it's not just about doing the “right” things, but rather, it's about how you have seen God’s strength in them to choose His better way instead of their own. Be sure to include a relevant Bible verse in your note.
Thank God for the body He has given you and for generously providing for your needs. Ask Him to help you honor Him with your temple this week. Thank Him for the price He paid to call you His own.
Next week we are continuing the month of January with the godly character trait of SELF-CONTROL. We will be learning about how our "attitudinal" self-control means allowing God's Spirit to guide our hearts and actions.
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