The power of self-control

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”  Proverbs 25:28 (ESV)

 An individual who has mastered both their emotions and bodily appetites will be someone of wisdom and maturity.

Are you a person of self-control?  The above proverb informs us that if any one lacks self-control, they are like a city that has lost its all-important defenses.

Ancient middle eastern cities relied on high, fortified walls to keep enemies at bay.  Any breach, or opening, into these walls was a place for violent intruders to enter the city.

Solomon, the writer of most of Proverbs, used this striking metaphor to instruct readers of the importance of self-control.  Without such, he warns, we become vulnerable to any number of enemies.   We are left spiritually naked without necessary defenses.

Too many of us lack self-control, hurting not only ourselves, but those around us.

For example, the ever increasing rates of obesity in this country is shocking.  Individuals who are within their normal weight level are becoming the exception rather than the norm.

Recently, while riding my bike to the park where I exercise, the  people I saw walking to their cars or driving on my neighborhood street were each grossly overweight.  I made a mental note of this travesty without having any clue that I would be writing about it the next day.

I spend much time among university students and have front-row seats to an entire population that, in general, lacks self-control.  One predominant area where this is seen, or rather heard, is in their foul language.  They drop more f-bombs in one day than what the US military dropped over Vietnam in its multi-year conflict.

Over-eating and not being able to control the tongue are unmistakeable signs of a lack of self-control.  According to the wisdom of Solomon, this signifies that the walls of these people’s cities have been breached by an enemy, creating vulnerabilities into its defenses.

Experience teaches us that sin never operates by itself.  It loves company.  In other words, an individual guilty of over-eating will surely lack self-control in other areas of their life.  They might regularly get angry over trifles, burst out in foul language, incessantly gossip, be frequently overcome by lust, etc.

This is a fact established in Scripture.  Paul exhorted us in the New Testament book of Romans to “not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness (6:12-13a)…for just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification (vs. 19b)

Sin breeds more sin as surely as righteousness breeds more righteousness.  This is a “Law of the Spiritual.”

Strive to become a person of self-control.  Ask God for this wonderful gift.



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