Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.”

We often think of being disciplined or having self-control as an enemy, or an unwanted guest, when in reality it’s our friend, because it enables us to be the best we can possibly be.

Surveys have found that people who exercise self-control are far happier and healthier than those who don’t.

The Bible has some interesting endings to those without self-control.

  • Uncontrolled anger leads to punishment, cruelty, harsh words, and strife (Job 5:2; Proverbs 27:4), Ephesians 4:31; Proverbs 29:22).
  • Uncontrolled lust makes a person a prey to their lust (Proverbs 6:26).
  • Uncontrolled spending destroys a person’s treasures (Proverbs 21:20).
  • Uncontrolled drinking brings sorrows, contentions, complaints, and wounds (Proverbs 23).
  • Uncontrolled ambition dulls and ceases a person’s ability to discern, understand and takes away gains (Proverbs 23:4-5).
  • Uncontrolled eating is like putting a knife to your throat (Proverbs 23:1-3)

Self-control comes from two Greek words meaning to have fixed power or strength, or it’s having the power to stay in one place. The idea is to get a hold or grip on something.

Literally it’s to get your hands on something until you’re in control of it rather than it being in control of you.

Far too often we’re ruled by our emotions as well as our wants and desires. Instead, those outside the faith need to see Christians who have self-control in their personal walk. It’s where we don’t allow the appetites of the flesh, or our lusts to dominate our lives.

How can we accomplish this? It’s by giving complete control of our lives over to the Holy Spirit where we are then God-controlled, not self-controlled.

The Apostle Paul said, “Everyone who competes for the prize is temperate (self-controlled) in all things … (Therefore) I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

Dennis Lee is the senior pastor of Living Waters Fellowship located at 211 West 1st South, behind ACE Hardware.

This Sunday Pastor Dennis will be looking at the Faith of King David in a message entitled, “David – A Man After God’s Heart.”

Sunday morning service begins at 10 a.m. either in-person or on-line (Children and Youth ministry available). All services and teachings, including Sunday 6 p.m. service, are available on our YouTube Channel, “Mesquite NV Living Waters Fellowship.”

Pastor Lee also provides daily inspiration (Devotionals, Thoughts, and Tweets) on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/dennis.lee.3760/).

To find more about Living Waters Fellowship visit, “mesquitelivingwaters.com.”

10 thoughts on “The Art of Ending Well

  1. Im a fan of Longfellow…. This article addresses the need for each of us to understand the importance of gaining control over the desires of our bodies and mind. Most importantly it assdrsses this focus to come through Jesus…. Without Christ at the center of our lives there is nothing left but doubt and confusion.

  2. Unfortunately self-control has gone out of style these days. We’ve become a society of “if it feels good, do it”. Instant gratification is the goal of so many people. Thank you for the reminder about good things come to those who wait.

    1. Thank you, Ed, and yes it is unfortunate because so many miss the blessings of waiting and doing it the right way. Take care and keep both you and Kimberly in my prayers. God bless my friend.

  3. Another result of not having self-control is that we hinder the blessings and promises that God wants to give us. I reminded of when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew (Genesis 25:29-34). When we give into the lusts of the flesh, whatever it may be for us at the time, it dulls our discernment causing us to easily give in to the temptation of fulfilling that desire, settling for the temporary needs of our flesh with no disregard for what God has promised us. Then by the time we realize what we have done, it’s too late to reverse that and we then become resentful. As it says in verse 34a, “Thus Esau despised his birthright.” If we purpose in our hearts to walk daily in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), we can prevent this from happening. But we can only do it as we abide in Jesus (John 15:1-8).

  4. Good read, Dennis,
    The fruit of the Spirit is …Self Control… Gal. 5:22.
    Eat more fruit? – No, consume more of the Word and produce more fruit. Amen

    1. Dan, thanks for the comment. And yes, it’s not about eating more fruit, but eating more of God’s word so that we can be fruitful. Thanks again, and God bless

  5. Pastor Dennis

    Great message, Loved reading the proverbs. It is so easy to get caught up in the worldly this of life.

    I was reminded as I read this about the sower and seeds falling on good ground BUT thorns etc stopped the growth
    Mark 4:18-19

    Thanks and Blessings to you and Michaela

    1. James,

      Thank you for your comment and thoughts. The parable of the sower and the ground the seed fell upon is a good parallel.

      Thanks, and God bless


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