Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them, 'Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.'
Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Behold, I will rain bread from Heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My Law or not.
One fruit of the Holy Spirit is self-control.* Surely we cannot lead others without it. Because if we allow our selfishness to run wild, we're like spoiled kids on a mountain of candy: full of sugar and speed--begging for our next treat. How can physically-filled Christians look like the spiritually-filled Christ?
The Apostle Paul said, 'Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ' (1 Corinthians 11:1). Although no one can attain His perfection on Earth, Paul tried: 'I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified' (1 Corinthians 9:27). Practice does make perfect--eventually. Paul refused to become disqualified as a leader of God's new church--by hypocrisy.
At the beginning of their journey to the Promised Land, the children of Israel lacked self-control. They complained about their food. They wanted more than God's miraculous manna from Heaven. They wanted meat. Moses was overwhelmed by their whining.
So God sent an uncountable number of quail, and said, 'You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you' (Numbers 11:19-20). After that, He released a plague upon them.
Because over-indulgence in anything physical is like a plague. We serve a tough-love God. He allows us to experience the consequences of our mistakes.
Later rather than sooner, the children of Israel did learn self-control. In terms manna, their lesson was mandatory, because it was pre-portioned per person. They could neither hoard nor indulge.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: practice self-control (which is self-denial) for every good reason: 1) By it, you show off Christ. 2) By it, you set a good example. 3) By it, you are ready to work. 4) By it, you please God. 5) By it, you succeed.
To Be Continued...
* 'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control' (Galatians 5:22-23).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Field of Dreams series.