Building Strong Character

St Cuthman'sImage by duopastorale via Flickr


[It is] better to have self-control than to conquer a city
Proverbs 16:32

First and foremost, building strong character requires self-discipline. Self-discipline is the ability to do what's right, when you don't feel like it. Plato asserted, 'The first and best victory is to conquer self.' Yes, your greatest victories are internal ones. Bobby Jones was winning golf tournaments by age 12. But he had a temper. His nickname was 'club-thrower.' An older gentleman called Grandpa Bart recognised Jones' talent and his character issues. He said. 'Bobby, you're good enough to win, but you'll never win big until you control that temper of yours.' Jones did master his temper, and went on to win his first U.S. Open at 21. Grandpa Bart used to say, 'Bobby was 14 when he mastered golf, but he was 21 when he mastered himself.'

English theologian Henry Parry Liddon observed, 'What we do on some great occasion will probably depend on what we already are; and what we are will be the result of previous years of self-discipline.' If you're serious about building strong character, set higher standards for yourself and refuse to lower them. Need a role model? You won't find a better one than Jesus. He said, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself' (Matthew 16:24 NIV). Each day look for an opportunity to say 'no' to yourself in some small area. Try it; you'll be surprised how hard it is. But the payoff will come when you need to say no to yourself in some big area of life. Like saving for a rainy day, you'll have spiritual strength to draw on when you need it.

Copied from UCB Word for Today. Free issues are available here for the UK and Republic of Ireland.

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Comments

Gudl said…
This is very good and true.
We all have to work on that I suppose. We get better with age!!
Thanks to the Holy Ghost.
Good Monday Morning... love the post so true - I will pass on to my hubby he is a golfer.

God bless...M
Sidharth said…
Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. [Prov 25:28]

Something we all need a lot!

Sidharth
zakscloset said…
really, how do you come up with those amazing stories? you should publish a book!!!!
quintarantino said…
That's a nice photo.
Also liked reading your words.
GrandmaK said…
My son learned a lesson the hard way about losing his temper and a golf club. He threw it and as a result had a torn rotator cuff. He's probably a "better man" for it, and leaned a grand lesson in the bargain. It was an expensive "moment of anger." A drastic example, but if he can learn from this so can I!! Great post! Cathy
Andrea said…
Beautiful picture. This is very true and a wonderful post....as always. You always have encouraging words.
Paulie said…
Love that sculpture of a cross and the scene through it. I wonder what it might look like in different seasons?
michaelonbass said…
There is so much good stuff in this post, I'm not even sure how to comment. The thought did occur to me though, that it is a bit ironic in that by denying ourselves in this world we store treasure in heaven and in that way, it is the most satisfying return in the long run.
Wanda said…
Mike, you have such a heart for ministry. I love your daily posts and the insight and treasures you share. The photo is extraordinary. My husband and I were visiting over breakfast, and he said, "Wanda..I think people want "Jesus" but they don't want the "Cross". How true for so many, but He said...Take up your cross daily....and follow me!!

Blessing on you....Pastor Mike.
Kim S in SC said…
Deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me! I think of that verse often as I walk around at work. If I want to really follow Him, I must do the other two things in that verse. Deny and take up the cross...powerful post Mike! Thanks for the insights and encouragement, as always!
Suz said…
hmmm...looking for a role model. I suppose people in our lives: our parents, spiritual parents, our communities...all these model self-discipline in different ways and in varying degrees. But, we (I) need this and other aspects of character and maturity modeled. I am becoming more and more convinced of this. I learn from those who love me.

As I seek a love relationship with God, I know that Jesus is certainly someone to lean into and learn from.
Your devotion is speaking to me today. God has recently convicted me that I need to work on the self control issue.
Steve said…
Mike,this systemis really messing me around.I'm trying to send you an encouraging word and it WON'T let me!
Steve said…
Now someone's head my frustrayed plea.
Thanks for the word.You do seem to have a real ministry in this area!
Steve said…
I meant frustrated.Frustration relieved!
Photo Cache said…
just dropping by...and hoping you are having a blessed day.
smilnsigh said…
Just heard of an earthquake in the UK. Are you all right?

Mari-Nanci
Sharon said…
Ouch!! So true.