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American-style football requires athletes to exercise self-control on many levels. One level is the discipline to appear at practice and workouts to learn the plays and develop the skills, strength and stamina needed to compete. Every athlete in the NFL has this level of self-discipline. Another level is to wait for the hike to execute the play. With just a few exceptions, every NFL athlete does this consistently. What is harder is keeping your cool in the midst of an emotional, hard-fought game. Players penalize their teams for lack of self-control. They get flagged for taunting or unnecessary roughness. Sometimes, it leads to the team’s defeat as it did for the Bengals in the AFC Championship Game. A personal foul in the closing seconds moved the Chiefs into field goal range. They scored and won.
Listen to 1 Peter 1:13, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (NIV 1984) Did you hear the encouragement to be self-controlled? When we look at our lives, we may see a level of self-control. We may see habits of prayer, bible reading and involvement in church or a small group. But our self-control must go to the next level. We pour ourselves into life. We may become exhausted or frustrated or experience other intense emotions, good or bad. It is especially during these moments we must keep ourselves in bounds.
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.