The famous painter, Renoir, is a great example of self-mastery.
He suffered terribly with arthritis.
His hands were twisted and deformed; the joints of his fingers were swollen and enormous. Eventually, he reached a point where he could only hold the brush clumsily with thumb and forefinger, high in the cleft between them, because there was no power in the finger.
Still he worked on.
His condition became so bad that he had to be carried to his easel. Attendants had to move the canvas for him, because he could only paint directly in front of his hand.
But he never complained. He remained cheerful and serene. And he kept on working.
One day, Matisse came to see him, and found Renoir painting as usual. At one point, he winced with pain, and the brush fell from his hand. Torn with pity, Matisse cried,
“Why torture yourself like this, Master? You have done so much. You may well be satisfied!”
Still he worked onRenoir looked at him and smiled, “The pain passes, Matisse,” he said, “but the beauty remains.”
Paul declared, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
Chuck Swindoll wrote, “These are the words of a godly man. He wasn’t playing games with his life. Therefore, he refused to let his body dictate his objectives. He ‘beat it black and blue’ (literal rendering) and determined to make it his slave rather than the other way around.”
On one occasion, the aged and wise saint of God, George Mueller, was approached by a young man who was a lover of sleep. He asked Mr. Mueller how he might rise in the morning for devotions. “Young man,” replied,” if you will get one leg out of the bed, I will ask the Lord to help you get the other one out.” 3
“The best discipline, maybe the only discipline that really works, is self-discipline.”
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