FOLLOW THE LEADER.
Have you ever worked with someone and sewed something from a pattern? Or have you ever used a plan to make something from wood? Have you ever followed the directions to make a model car or plane, put together a new toy or bike, or used a recipe to bake a cake "from scratch" (where do you buy "scratch," anyway)?
To do any of those things correctly you have to follow some type of plan, whether it be a sewing pattern, a construction plan, assembly instructions, or a recipe. Think what the cake would be like if you put spinach in it instead of flour. Yuck! Or how would the bike look if you tried to put both wheels on the back or left the seat off? Not much fun to ride! Or if you decided to ignore the pattern and put sleeves wherever you wanted or left out the neck hole?
It may be a hassle at times to follow instructions, recipes, and patterns, but the outcome is sure better if you do. And the creator of the plan knows things will work out properly if you follow the instructions.
Well, when it comes to living our life, we have a pattern, too. Jesus is our pattern. As God's Son, he came to show us what God is like. He is the ultimate example for us.
When God tells us, in his Word, to be self-controlled, he's not just making a new rule off the top of his head. He's telling us, "Be like me," because he is self-controlled. When God says, "These are the things I will do" (Isaiah 42:16, NIV), he does them. He never lies, never gets carried away.
Some people seem to be controlled by their temper; yet God never loses control of his temper. Some people's tongues seem to be out of control; yet God never loses control of his tongue. Some people seem to be victims of their passions; yet God is never controlled by anything except his own perfect, holy nature and will.
And because God is self controlled, he wants us to be self controlled and to follow the example he sets for us.
REFLECT: Do you think God ever has to exercise his self-control with you? Can you ever be perfectly self controlled, as God is? Can you reflect his self control in your behavior? How?
ACT: Carry a carpenter's pencil or a recipe card in your pocket or purse to remind you to follow God's example and be self controlled today. Or memorize Ephesians 5:1.
PRAY: "God, thank you for providing an example of how I should live my life. Help me to closely follow your plan for me."