“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” Proverbs 25:28
Self-control…it’s one of those words that evokes all kinds of thoughts and emotions. For some, it is images of empowerment and victory. For others, it’s images of defeat, guilt, and frustration. But there is one thing we can all agree on: Self-control is hard. It is a choice that must be made daily, hourly, and even minute-by-minute. It is no wonder that Paul listed it as a fruit of the Spirit.
Even though it is called, self-control, we cannot do it ourselves. We must have the Spirit of God living and working in us in order to say “no” to the sinful desires of our flesh. There is a constant war raging within the redeemed man for control of the heart, mind, emotions, attitudes, and actions.
Perhaps this battle between flesh and Spirit is why Proverbs 25:28 compares a lack of self-control to a city with broken walls. This is a war reference. You see, in biblical times every city was surrounded by a giant wall. This was to protect it from being overtaken by its enemies. The wall was a fortress to keep the people safe.
Have you ever thought of self-control as a means of protection against the enemy, Satan, who seeks to destroy our lives? When we choose to obey Christ (which requires self-control), it is like putting another stone in the wall of protection around our hearts. It keeps sin out. When we choose to disobey Christ (lack of self-control) it is like a breach in the wall of protection that God has provided to us through His Word. His precepts are for protection, not deprivation.
Today, as we face the choice to control or indulge ourselves, let’s remember that self-control is for our good and for God’s glory.
Dear Lord, please help me to choose self-control today. Help me to remember that doing so offers me protection from the enemy. In Jesus’ name, amen.