Class 45: “Take the Road Less Traveled” (Part 2)
Today, we are going to continue or study titled, “Take The Road Less Traveled”
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Rudyard Kipling. He said,
“If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on.’
“If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run-
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”
Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men which our lesson is based on:
Here are some things that we really need to practice the principle of discipline in:
PRAYER: You will need to learn to pray when you feel like praying and pray even when you don’t.
READING: Especially Bible reading. One man said: “The Bible will keep you away from sin, or sin will keep you away from the Bible.” Reading other books besides the Bible will take discipline as well. But the rewards are great.
IN-DEPTH STUDY: King Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, said, “Much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12b). And it is. Someone stated that “Mental work is much more difficult than physical work.” And that is true. For example, I find it much easier to work in a warehouse than to sit down and write an article or a book.
EXERCISE: Even though there are people who say they like to exercise, it still takes discipline to move that body out of bed and on to the running track or gym. Discipline! Discipline! Discipline! Make it your battle cry and you will win every time.
SEX: One of the most difficult areas to exercise discipline in is the area of sexual desires. But as in any thing else, God will help you overcome those temptations if you would only pray and take heed to His Word.
Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.
As I mentioned in our last lesson, we have discussed the topic of self-discipline in several previous studies. Thus, this lesson will simply serve to refresh your memory on areas that you, as a believer, should exercise discipline in, and give you some guidance in how to go about possessing such self-control.
Today, we are going to look at the topics of exercise and sex.
Read the following verses and note what they say about the issue of self-discipline in exercise, sex, or both:
1. Romans 12:1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
This verse commands the believers to offer their bodies as pure and holy sacrifices to the Lord. This statement clearly deals with the issue of sex, for an unmarried man only remains pure as long as he abstains from sex. However, I also believe this verse deals with physically maintaining your body. When something is given as a sacrifice to the Lord it is expected that this object is the best of the best. The Lord is Holy and, thus, He deserves that which is beautiful and highly valued. Do you treat your body as though it belongs to the Lord? Would the food you consume be considered the best for maintaining your physical health? If not, it is possible you are making light of this command to present your body to the Lord. Treat your body as though it has great worth, for this is your spiritual act of service.
2. I Corinthians 6:18-20: “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
These verses deal very specifically with sexual immorality. Sexual sins are unique from all other sins, in that they directly defile your body which is designed to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Have you ever seen the huge cathedrals in Europe in a photograph or on television? These buildings were built years ago in order to provide a place for the communal worship of Jesus Christ. When looking at these churches you automatically know they serve a very special purpose. The artwork on the walls, ceilings, and floors is the very best from that time period; the sanctuary is adorned with gold and precious ornaments; and the many pillars point straight to the Heavens. When individuals enter these places they inherently know to be silent and carry themselves in a respectful manner, for these cathedrals have purposely been designed so that all may know they are worthy of the presence of Almighty God.
Now, think about yourself. You are also called to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Do you diligently avoid all the “junk” this world throws at you, so as to not defile the holy dwelling place that is your body. Is your life adorned with the most beautiful things available — love, compassion, and humility? Do your thoughts and actions clearly point away from yourself and directly to God in Heaven? Remember, your body does not belong to you. Sure, you can choose what to eat, how often to exercise, and whether or not you will engage in sexual immorality. However, this does not make you the owner. God created you and paid a very special price — the blood of His Son — in order to keep your body pure and holy. Now, you have been given the incredibly huge responsibility of maintaining this temple in a way that glorifies the Father. Please do not make this precious gift worthless by treating your body as though its only purpose is to fulfill your immediate physical desires.
3. I Corinthians 3:16-17: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
If you are watching a television show which has sexual references, have the self-discipline to turn it off. If you are listening to a song which puts inappropriate visions in your head, choose to honor God, and change the station. If your friends are talking about sex as though it is just an accepted activity with no responsibilities or obligations attached, be bold to speak up for God’s view of the marriage bed. To say nothing is to essentially agree. In all that you do ask yourself whether or not you would be ashamed if Christ was in the room with you, for in reality HE IS.
This topic of self-discipline can be overwhelming at first. You may have gone through the five areas and felt as though you were failing in each one. Please do not be discouraged. Remember, in a previous study, we looked at the verse that says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” The fact that you have made it through this many studies is an accomplishment in self-discipline. Stay focused on living in a way that honors God, allow Him to make you purer and holier each day.
In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.