August 19

When I was younger, I was extremely competitive. I loved playing sports, and I loved winning when I played. I must admit that there were times when my competitive drive made me do things that embarrassed me, and I am afraid, hurt the testimony of Christ. I am ashamed of my flesh and the times it ruled over what I knew was the right thing to do. Today I read two verses that speak to this issue. The first exposes the issue; the second gives me hope. Today I read, “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression” (Proverbs 19:11).

This first verse speaks to the maturity that allows a person to see something that would normally cause them to lose their temper, but instead, controls it. When I was young, there were times when I did not control my temper, but it showed its ugly head in my attitude and sometimes in my actions. I realize that this was a sign of immaturity and it was not glorifying to God. Some of you reading this today, played with or against me in sports, and you could testify to the sincerity of my statement.

If I ended here, I would be disappointed in myself and leave this Bible study feeling defeated. But thankfully, the chapter does not end here, and my story does not end here either. Dropping down to verse 20, I read, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” I am thankful for good instruction. I am thankful for the people who stood up to me when I had acted out of character for a Christian and a leader. I am thankful for my wife’s gentle reminders of the “big picture” of my testimony. I am thankful for godly friends who came alongside me and gently, but pointedly helped me to see my errors.

I am thankful that God never gives up on us. He is long-suffering to us, and allows us the room to grow into the kind of person He desires us to become. I am thankful that He knows we are not a finished product, but a work-in-progress many times. What a joy to know that God has a plan for me; a plan that is for my good, not for evil; a plan that will bring His expected end for my life.

I am reminded of Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” I am so thankful for the work I have seen God doing throughout my life. I am grateful that He is continuing to do the work in me, even today. I want to demonstrate to the world that I am yielding to the touch of God on my life, to become more and more like His Son every day.

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