Here's a secret about self-control: It works like a muscle," says Douglas McKenna, former director of Microsoft's Leadership Development. "With each use, that muscle temporarily loses some strength, leaving you with reduced capacity to handle yourself if the next self-control challenge pops up too soon.
"That's the bad news. The good news is that just like with any other muscle, you can be smarter about how you use it. And you can strengthen it with exercise." While exercising the self-control muscle may be a new concept to some, this principle has been around for centuries. In the first century, for example, the apostle Paul instructed church leaders and their wives to make self-control workouts a regular part of their leadership training regimen.
"Exercise self-control," Paul exhorted the group, "live wisely, and have a good reputation" (1 Timothy 3:2; see also v.11 and Titus 2:2).
As with any fitness plan, there will always be slackers like Felix, who badgered Paul for advice and then refused to take it: "As [Paul] reasoned with [Felix and his wife] about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment, Felix became frightened. â€˜Go away for now,' he replied. â€˜When it is more convenient, I'll call for you again' " (Acts 24:25).
God calls us to "think clearly and exercise selfcontrol" each moment (1 Peter 1:13) not merely when it's convenient. So set some goals toward strengthening your self-control muscle today. As you do, keep the words of Douglas McKenna in mind: "Small changes to your self-control muscle can make a big difference in your effectiveness as a leader. Don't take my word for it. Try it yourself." More importantly, take God's word for it! , Roxanne Robbins
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