Friday, June 17th, 2016
Proverbs For Performers (Part 39)
Self-Control In Church
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion,
That I not be full and deny You and say, 'Who is the Lord?'
Or that I not be in want and steal,
And profane the Name of my God.
Proverbs 30:8-9 (NASB)
Like a city whose walls are broken through
Is a person who lacks self-control.
Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)
Asking God to spare us from poverty seems like an understandable request. Asking God to spare us from abundance seems like foolishness to Americans. Our land of wealth and opportunity parades the lavish lifestyles of the rich, including grand churches and posh pastors.
To sell countless products and services (with celebrity seen as a product), entertainment promotes idol worship. Are some modern churches doing likewise? Consider the Bible study programs, TV shows, advice and best-selling books, where famous Christians teach us about God.
Consider a personal example: When I read the Book of Revelation, I was confused by so much symbolism.* I asked my pastor for a referral. Many scholars have written detailed books, but I wanted to know which one was best.
George Dillard's advice changed my walk with God.** His answer? The Book of Revelation. When I questioned these unexpected words, he said, 'Let God Himself be your Teacher'--which God Himself promises He will do.
George illustrated self-control in church. He didn't claim to be God's translator. Instead, he referred me to the Master. George isn't seeking abundance from men, nor all the fullness this world can offer. He's chosen to avoid that temptation.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Self-control will double your progress in the entertainment industry. Rising stars show it physically, beating their bodies into good shape. They show it educationally, continuing to improve their skills. The show it indefatigably, persevering when others give up, and they show it professionally, practicing smart business etiquette.
You need these same self-controls--and more. You must show it emotionally, maintaining a kind disposition. You must show it habitually, memorizing Verses as your script. You must show it compassionately, pausing to help the least among us. You must show it spiritually, avoiding all the lusts of this world. You must show it sacrificially, surprising fans with self-denial.
To Be Continued...
* I still don't claim to understand the Book of Revelation, but I am learning slowly, through prayer and historical references.
** My pastor, Dr. George S. Dillard III, is a southern gentleman and a scholar. He leads Peachtree City Christian Church in Peachtree City, GA (a suburb of ATL). He is also Chairman of AMTC's Board. http://amtcworld.org/ministry/about/
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Proverbs for Performers series.