A devotion for older children
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8, NIV).
Indicate which of the following statements you think are true or false:
1. Drinking water can kill you.
2. A major cause of death is taking a shower.
3. Bees are nice creatures who make sweet honey and can only hurt a little.
4. Flying in an airplane is the safest way to travel.
5. Playing with guns is dangerous and smoking causes lung cancer.
6. Sunshine is dangerous.
7. A ham sandwich can kill you.
8. Stores aren't allowed to sell anything that's really harmful.
9. Spending too much time on the internet or playing video games can hurt you.
10. Dishrags have more germs than anyplace else in the house.
How do you think you did?
Of course, there's nothing wrong with a ham sandwich or a little sunshine. You need to eat, right? And a day without sunshine can be depressing. But it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Some of the things in the list above are good things, but they can still be harmful to you if you're not careful and self-controlled. That's why self-control can be so good for you, because it can protect you from excesses and extremes. A little self-control at the computer can prevent injury to your wrists and hands. A little self-control at the beach can prevent sunburn, even skin cancer. A little self-control with the volume on your boom box or CD player can prevent you from blowin' your ear drums out!
This is starting to sound like your parents, isn't it? Okay, okay. Just remember this: the devil wants to eat you up. He wants to chew you up and spit you out. And he'll use anything--even good things if he can take them to extremes--to hurt you. So be alert. Be self-controlled. Don't be devoured.
Review: Staying away from things that are obviously bad isn't too hard; it's harder to recognize otherwise good things that could still hurt us. Can you think of any examples of otherwise good or harmless things that, if taken to extreme, can hurt you?
Reflect: Have you allowed any "good things" or "harmless things" to enter your life that would be dangerous if you're not careful? Do you need to use some self-control in any of those areas? Should you ask your parents, friends, or pastor to help you learn to control any of those areas?
Reinforce: Keep a bottle of sun-tan lotion (or a ham sandwich!) on your desk or dresser to remind you of the need for self control, even over seemingly harmless habits.
Remember: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8, NIV).