God's Spirit doesn't make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love and self-control.
I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won't lose out after telling the good news to others.
The greatest transformation in my life was committing to Christ at 51. My second greatest transformation was losing 220 pounds (starting at age 36), but that's another story.
Most people think I have a lot of self-control. I think I have a lot of God.
Because I lost weight without surgery, pills, products, counseling or commercial diets. I also exercised with determination. Over the years, I've met many faithful followers of fitness.
In the realms of entertainment, fitness is the rule, but we cheer for the exceptions: people who expand media's narrow definitions of beauty.
In the realms of the church, fitness is optional, and we cheer for everybody, which is good... except God's calls for self-control were written for us. Because an out-of-control body can be a roadblock to success.
That being said, having a selfish, worldly spirit is a bigger roadblock. 'For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come' (1 Timothy 4:8, NKJV).
If you don't think you have enough self-control, go to the Word. Go to your prayer closet. Go to the Throne Room and ask God's help.
Because that's where the things you need are found. In Him.
Concerning fad diets and the next new exercise sensation: Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness' (1 Timothy 4:7, ESV). Consider a few practical rules:
1) Learn from those you respect: 'Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life' (Proverbs 19:20, NLT).
2) Thank God for every correction you receive: 'I correct and punish everyone I love. So make up your minds to turn away from your sins' (Revelation 3:19, CEV).
3) Remember that the power for self-control comes from His Holy Spirit. 'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control' (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB).
As I write this devotion, I confess that I am too far from perfect to be comfortable with myself. I have a long way to go. But knowing the Goal and the Power to get to the Goal is transforming.
In anyone's book (including God's), self-control is a success strategy.
## Success Strategies: Self-Control (Part 19)
NOTE: This series is a republished edit of a 2013 devotion series called, 'Success Strategies.' You may see notes to 'Actors, Models & Talent for Christ.' If you're not a performer, don't be deterred. In truth, every disciple acts for Christ, models Christ and stewards His talents.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Success Strategies series.