Randy and Katy Smelser

Americans living in Germany but citizens of heaven

In the Newspaper

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Thoughts for Sunday


from Randall Smelser
Preacher in Stederdorf

At this time of the year no one wants to practice self-disciple. There are too many goodies to nibble. Who can say no to just one more cookie? Chocolate is lying around everywhere. And what may be behind the next door of the Advents Calendar? One cup of coffee or tea too many and you cannot sleep right. And who did not try as a child to sneak a peak at what your Christmas present was? Or you still do it?

When we watch athletes, who abstain from so much to be the best they can be, we are amazed. Maybe because we know how difficult it is for us to say no to little things. We appreciate the effort of people who can say no – and even more so when we look at our waistline in January.

The Advent Season shows us just how little self-disciple we have and how much we need. The Advent Season should also remind us of the pinnacle of self-control which we see in Jesus.

When we look in the manger, we do not normally think of self-disciple but actually that is the greatest example of it. Jesus was the unfathomable God but he slipped into the body of a human baby. The almighty became a helpless baby. The one who made the world and lived above and beyond the Laws of Nature, lowered himself and put himself freely under these earthly laws. He did not look at his own well being but after ours.

Jesus did not practice self-restraint just for the 4 Advent weeks but for 30 years. Of course the cross was the climax of this restraint. Nails did not hold Jesus on the cross; love did and self-disciple. Likewise the human body did not limit him but his own will did. The fact that Jesus came to the earth as a baby was not a sign of weakness but of power and strength. We work real hard at staying away from chocolate or cookies and think we have really shown great self-mastery. But that is nothing in comparison to what Jesus showed us when he came to the earth.