The Art of Finishing Well
by Dennis Lee
Published on January 8, 2023
Categories: Aging | Grandparenting

The Art of Ending Well

By Dennis Lee

 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.

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)

(Originally published in the Virgin River Times, August 13, 2021

Dennis graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with BA in business administration and an M.A. in theology from Talbot School of Theology. He also has an MDiv equivalency degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. Dennis is a prolific writer. He presently has two books, “From Here to There: A Journey to Spiritual Transformation,” and “Wells of Living Waters,” along with other books and pamphlets that he describes as “down the pike.” He also writes a religious column for a local newspaper entitled, “Rediscover the Bible for Life,” along with daily devotionals and thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Living Waters Fellowship’s Website. Dennis is presently the senior pastor of Living Waters Fellowship in Mesquite, Nevada.

Feature Photo by Wallpaper Access

10 Comments

  1. Bruce Coleman

    Thank you for this post. The passage from Romans 7 to Romans 8 only at first seems difficult, but the end of striving to be free is found in dying to self (see Galatians 6:14). Not so that we can become automatons, rather we are born again so that we can freely choose to live for God.

    Reply
    • Andy Oldham

      Agree, that while we were yet sinners, He died for us. His love for us creates a desire to follow Him and grow closer to Him. But we must give our all to Him and not let these earthly things control us. Love ya brother Bruce!

      Reply
      • Vance Gardner

        Hi Dennis. Great subject and article. “Self control” is the one “selfie” that is a fruit of the Spirit. The fruit is the “control” of the self. Don’t let it do anything. Snuff it out or put it in a cage or like James talks about the tongue, tame it. If we don’t do that, the other “selfies” (that are fruit of the flesh) become more prominent and destructive (self centeredness, self absorption, self focused, self righteous, self reliance, self indulgence, self interest, self promotion and self justification).

        Reply
    • Dennis Lee

      Thank you Bruce for your insight, and how this so fits into Jesus’s description of discipleship. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23). Take care and God bless

      Reply
      • Vance Gardner

        Hi Dennis. Great subject and article. “Self control” is the one “selfie” that is a fruit of the Spirit. The fruit is the “control” of the self. Don’t let it do anything. Snuff it out or put it in a cage or like James talks about the tongue, tame it. If we don’t do that, the other “selfies” (that are fruit of the flesh) become more prominent and destructive (self centeredness, self absorption, self focused, self righteous, self reliance, self indulgence, self interest, self promotion and self justification).

        Reply
        • Dennis Lee

          Hey Vance, Great to hear from you and I hope and pray that the family is doing well. For me, self-control is one “selfie” I have the hardest time with, but absolutely, without it, we really get caught up with and in all the wrong “selfies.”
          Take care my friend and I hope you have a great New Year.

          Reply
  2. Linda Barney

    Something we all need to hear and hold close in our thoughts!

    Reply
    • Dennis Lee

      Linda, there is an “AMEN” to that statement. I really appreciate you faithfulness, as I do the rest of the family. Take care and I see you soon.

      Reply

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