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... or because you didn’t make any at all? Whether it’s being consistent at the gym, being nicer to that difficult neighbor, or promising to build in more quiet time with God in your life, 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. Remember that God loves you and wants what’s best for you. He wants you to ask Him for help to choose His way in all things, including how you honor Him with your body.
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 exactly 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!
1.Read Exodus 16. What are some of the rules God gave the Israelites? Why did He give them these rules?
2.What special gift did God give the Israelites in verse 29? Why is a Sabbath still important for us today? How is your family doing at taking a day of rest each week?
3.Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. For those of us who have accepted God’s free gift of grace, how does this verse describe us? (We are a temple because the Holy Spirit lives in us.)
4.When is it hard for you to have physical self-control? What is one way you can honor God with your body this week?
* Check out our vision for parents and how to use these activities each week.
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.
As you’re driving to school or extracurricular activities, take note of all the gyms and billboards for “better bodies” you see. Like in all things, the enemy can take a good thing and twist it so that it becomes something selfish and unhealthy. Talk with your kids about how the world will tempt us to make physical self-control all about us, and how we need God’s help to work hard and form healthy habits as a way to honor Him. Pray together before you get out of the car for God’s help in knowing how you can honor Him with your body that day and for the strength to walk in the way He says is best. Then be sure you celebrate God’s faithfulness where there’s victory!
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.
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 and play a game of pretend. 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 memory verse inside the fort and praying that God will give you the grace and strength you need to have self-control.
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.
We are excited to continue in our first character trait of 2019, self-control!