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Sunday 5 July 2020 Message Supplement: “Self-management”

The lectionary text for today’s message is Romans 7:15-25a, a tale of Paul’s struggles.

People of good conscience often wrestle with how best to live. There is a timeless quality about the tension between what a person wants to do and what they actually do. Paul emphasized this universal human condition of internal conflicts. As with Paul, modern people of faith often know right from wrong but they don’t always pursue what’s best. People can be at war with themselves but admitting this state can begin a new-found freedom.

Paul candidly revealed that his appetites and desires were difficult to manage. The point is that whatever specific issues he faced, Paul’s confession reveals that even someone with his authority has problems. Paul boldly admitted that he couldn’t easily overcome all temptations. This is how Paul’s words remain vital and relevant today because you and ci can experience a similar burden.

Deep within people is a positive impulse that Paul referred to as the law of God. Let’s not dismiss this as simply the Old Testament rules and regulations. Instead, the law of God refers to humans’ spiritual core. Each person has a spirit/soul which is activated with proper self-awareness. If God’s spiritual presence is inside each person, so also are contrary forces which are evident in self-destructive thinking, emotions and behavior.

Immersing yourself in God’s love begins the healing and management of destructive tendencies.  What are those fleshly desires that are opposed to love? Selfishness, pride, revenge, hatred, evil—all these and many similar attitudes and behaviors promote unhealthy living. Whatever enhances life is from God, and whatever does not is a source of trouble that’s best avoided.

The problem of overcoming harmful desires isn’t as simple as denying and dismissing physical pleasure. The traditional emphasis of spirit verses sexual desire, for instance, is not always helpful. Destructive conflict isn’t inevitable: there can be a productive relationship between the different parts that comprise your humanity. People are physical, mental and spiritual. Each person’s primary responsibility is to find the way in which body, mind and spirit can best be managed without undermining the role of any part.

It isn’t easy to achieve discipline and self-management but that is what each person is called to pursue for a life of wellbeing. This holistic balance helps humans live the best possible life with all the joy and fulfillment not otherwise possible. God wants people to be complete beings who can swim life’s seas without either drowning or remaining fearfully hiding on shore. Are you ready to dive-in to an enhanced existence and immerse yourself into a more satisfying life? Your connection with God is your lifeline.

Do you struggle with some part of yourself that drags you down? You’re not alone. As to life challenges, a person willing to do self-examination may reveal and resolve discrepancies between who they are and what they can become. Mindfulness and other forms of elevated awareness can identify unhelpful patterns of thinking, feeling and behavior. The great news is that people can make better choices and thereby bridge the gap between who they are and what they can become.

By taking care of yourself you can better help other people. Do you feel tossed to and fro? Maybe you feel like inside yourself is a tsunami of crushing forces. Rather than crashing against the waves you can discern a way to ride them, to rise above rather than being pushed down. Tread life’s waters and develop your holistic perspective. Rally your body, mind and spirit for the fullest measure of humanity within which you can embrace God.

–Reverend Larry Hoxey

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