This devotional first appeared in https://www.revivalandreformation.org
Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? Luke 9:24, 25, NRSV.
Only one lease of life is granted us; and the inquiry with everyone should be “How can I invest my powers so that they may yield the greatest profit? How can I do most for the glory of God and the benefit of my fellow beings?” For life is valuable only as it is used for the attainment of these ends.
Our first duty toward God and our fellow humans is that of self-development. Every faculty with which the Creator has endowed us should be cultivated to the highest degree of perfection, that we may be able to do the greatest amount of good of which we are capable. Hence that time is spent to good account which is used in the establishment and preservation of physical and mental health. We cannot afford to dwarf or cripple any function of body or mind. As surely as we do this, we must suffer the consequences.
Every person has the opportunity, to a great extent, of making himself or herself whatever he or she chooses to be. The blessings of this life, and also of the immortal state, are within their reach. They may build up a character of solid worth, gaining new strength at every step. They may advance daily in knowledge and wisdom, conscious of new delights as they progress, adding virtue to virtue, grace to grace…. Their intelligence, knowledge, and virtue will thus develop into greater strength and more perfect symmetry.
On the other hand, they may allow their powers to rust out for want of use, or to be perverted through evil habits, lack of self-control, or moral and religious stamina. Their course then tends downward; they are disobedient to the law of God and to the laws of health. Appetite conquers them; inclination carries them away. It is easier for them to allow the powers of evil, which are always active, to drag them backward, than to struggle against them and go forward. Dissipation, disease, and death follow. This is the history of many lives that might have been useful in the cause of God and humanity.–Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 41, 42.