Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. Proverbs 25: 28
Having self control touches on almost every aspect of our lives from eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep, and avoiding addictive behaviors to working harder, building better relationships, keeping our commitments, and being the individuals God would have us be.
For most of us, it is a constant struggle to do the things we know we need to do, or to keep away from behaviors that are not in our best interest. But the good news is that God’s Spirit within us can be our constant source and supply of self-control. His Spirit will give us the strength and resolve we need.
We all have our own personal list of ways we show a consistent lack of self-control. How many times have we said or done something, and then later wished we had thought before responding! Controlling our words, our anger, and our frustrations can sometimes be difficult.
Some individuals try to control the people in their lives with manipulation, intimidation, or fear. Others want to control the circumstances that surround them whether it be in their jobs or in their homes. These are destructive behaviors that keep us from having healthy relationships and happy lives.
And often some of us merely become too interested in or obsessed with someone or something in our lives, such as food, work, leisure time, shopping, sleep, sports, money, success, and the addictive behaviors that can interfere with us being able to live a happy and fulfilled life with those we love. How difficult it is to give up something that we think brings us satisfaction, comfort, or pleasure, even when we know it is not the best thing for us! And changing our behavior is not easy unless we have some clearly defined purpose or goal for doing so, and even then, it sometimes takes more strength than we have.
The word “self-control” derives its meaning from the word which means “strength” or “one who holds himself in”. In biblical terms, it means “walking by the Spirit.”
Many Scripture passages, especially the ones found in Proverbs, give us important lessons about life. This one does, as well, as we are reminded of our inability and need to control our own minds and bodies.
In this verse, the lack of self-control is compared to the broken walls of a city. During the time it was written, a city was protected by the walls surrounding it, and a collapsed wall would mean a breach in security. In the same way, if we have no self-restraint, we are like a city with no effective defense. We have no resistance or protection from those things that can harm or lessen the quality of our own lives and relationships.
When we give up our own control to any of the things in our lives, we become weak and undisciplined. We spend too much time and energy on them instead of on the things in life that are truly meaningful such as our families and our relationship with God. We miss out on so much joy, contentment, and peace by giving in to those things which don’t really fill the longings in our hearts. Sometimes these things seem to totally take over our lives and go beyond our control.
But the truth is that we need more than ourselves. We need to know that God can help us overcome whatever it is that keeps us from experiencing the fullness of life. We need His Spirit to strengthen our resolve, and guide us away from harmful behaviors that can change who we are and who we were meant to be.
We need Him “walking with us” to guide us, to quiet our anxious hearts, and to give us strength to live our lives in a way that would be pleasing to Him. May we have a constant supply of self control through His indwelling Spirit within us.
Our most gracious and loving God, our bodies and minds can become so weak, and we need your spirit walking with us, shoring us up, and keeping us strong in overcoming the things that prevent us from having the life you would have us live. Help us not to focus on ourselves but on you. For it is in your name we pray. Amen