The answer to discouragement, despair and/or despondency is found in one word. What is that one word? It’s going to shock you. It’s the word, godliness. Is that a let-down? Does that word sound kind of boring? Well, hang on to your hat, because you just may discover in this word a power for living that will set almost everything right in your life.
Though believers cannot accept the lifestyles endorsed by much of the secular world, it is possible to live in peace. Genesis 21 provides a beautiful illustration of this possibility. The surprising thing, however, is that the difficulty is attributed to not to Abimelech, the unbeliever, but to Abraham, the believer. One might think it would be the other way, but not so.
If you are a Christian, it’s because somewhere along the way you made a choice. You said: I want to follow Jesus Christ, and you trusted Him as Savior and Lord of your life. Perhaps, that decision came as a struggle for one reason or another. Yet, making that decision was not nearly as difficult as maintaining that decision. Starting is not nearly as tough as following through. Many begin but few finish.
Saul’s downward progression to his ultimate demise is evident in his story from the beginning of his kingly reign to its end. In particular, 1 Samuel unveils at least five downward turns in his fall to the depths of spiritual, mental and emotional decline when he consulted the dead for guidance. Of course, Saul’s slide could never happen to any of us today – right?
In his song, Only the Good Die Young, Billy Joel sang: I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun. If you feel the way Billy Joel feels you just may have a coronary if you listen to this sermon. So, consider this warning: What you are about to hear might be too radical to take seriously. At the same time, what you hear is the key to fulfillment, happiness and success.
Self-control is a quality found in the character of God. At least nine times the Bible tells us that God is slow to anger, i.e., God controls His emotions; God restrains His agitations; God never acts rashly. The person who breaks out of the egg and soars on the winds of the Spirit has learned to manage well his/her mind, emotions and passions. Here’s the question of the day: How can a person reel in the emotions and passions? How can a person manage explosive agitations? How can a person live below 212* Fahrenheit?