How long does do you think it take to make a bronze star?
It takes 100 hours! The process begins with the right metal that is then shaped by a flawless mold (or die depending on the process). Painstaking care is conferred on each medal to ensure the raw material becomes a decoration that is worthy of the recognition it bestows on the individual each time he or she wears it. The medal doesn’t take the credit, it points to the one deserving the credit.
Do you realize God is making you be a medal for Him?
He starts with your “metal”—He created you. David says it best in Psalm 139:13-16, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s
womb…. being made in secret, intricately woven….” You are a product of His amazing work.
Next, He selects the perfect and flawless “mold” that will bring honor and recognition to Him. He wants you to be shaped into the image (or “mold”) of Christ (Colossians 3:10). A person can spend a lifetime accomplishing the goal of being like Christ, but a great starting point is in the area of self-control. Be warned, it’s one the hardest ways to conform to the “mold” of Christ.
Self-control is not popular today because it is so demanding. The pursuit of pleasure, thrills, freedom to do what we want dominates our world, especially in social media. Paul told his young protégé, Titus to “encourage the young men to be self-controlled” (Titus 2:6). Paul gave other groups, like older men and women and young women, a much larger list of character traits, but with the young men, he lists only one requirement.
Why so sparing with this group?
Lack of self-control is a category that describes many young men. But self-control then, as now, is desperately needed by all groups. We live in a culture that demands fun. The more, the better. We spend billions on entertainment to ensure our fun quotient is filled. And yet for all our fun, we are no happier or satisfied than before.
Jesus practiced self-control and it did not diminish his life satisfaction. He was able to say “no” to temptation and do what was required even when it was hard. He willingly submitted to His Father’s plans despite personal cost. He became a servant and gave His life as a ransom for us (Mark 10:45).
Are you willing to practice self-control like Jesus? You are certainly not Jesus, but He has granted you power, love, and discipline to do as He did (2 Timothy 1:7).
So, what now?
First, spend time reading the gospels, paying particular attention Jesus’ self-control. Don’t rush through the reading (there’s no prize for finishing fastest!). When reading, ask yourself why He did what He did and then ask if you would do the same. The exercise of self-reflection is a critical step in moving toward being more self-controlled.
Second, find a mentor who will take time to ask you hard questions about your life while also providing encouragement when you fail. Seek mentors like Paul who told the Corinthians that they should “follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1, see also Philippians 3:17).
So, are you willing to invest the time and energy to become a medal that honors God?