The Art of Ending Well
February 21, 2022

Today’s 333 Devotional: “The Art of Ending Well”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.”

We often think of being disciplined or having self-control as an enemy, or an unwanted guest, when in reality it is our friend, because it enables us to be the best we can possibly be.

Surveys have found that people who exercise self-control are far happier and healthier than those who don’t.

The Bible has some interesting endings to those without self-control.

Uncontrolled anger leads to punishment, cruelty, harsh words, and strife (Job 5:2; Proverbs 27:4), Ephesians 4:31; Proverbs 29:22). Uncontrolled lust makes a person a prey to their lust (Proverbs 6:26). Uncontrolled spending destroys a person’s treasures (Proverbs 21:20). Uncontrolled drinking brings sorrows, contentions, complaints, and wounds (Proverbs 23). Uncontrolled ambition dulls and ceases a person’s ability to discern and understand and takes away gains (Proverbs 23:4-5). Uncontrolled eating is like putting a knife to your throat (Proverbs 23:1-3)

Self-control comes from two Greek words meaning to have fixed power or strength, or it’s having the power to stay in one place. The idea is to get a hold or grip on something. Literally it’s to get your hands on something until you’re in control of it rather than it being in control of you.

Far too often we’re ruled by our emotions as well as our wants and desires. Instead, those outside the faith need to see Christians who have self-control in their personal walk. It’s where we don’t allow the appetites of the flesh, or our lusts to dominate our lives.

How can we accomplish this? It’s by giving complete control of our lives over to the Holy Spirit where we are then God-controlled, not self-controlled.

The Apostle Paul said, “Everyone who competes for the prize is temperate (self-controlled) in all things … (Therefore) I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

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