“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” (Proverbs 25:28)
In Solomon’s time, a city depended on strong fortifications and gates, with great walls surrounding it, to protected it from foreign armies. If the gates and walls were broken down, a city was totally exposed to the assault of any enemy that wished to plunder or conquer it. If a city did not invest sufficiently in these means of protection, it could easily be captured.
Solomon said, a man without rule of his spirit is exposed and vulnerable like a defenseless city. His spirit yields to sin with very little temptation. He is helpless, hopeless, and at the mercy of his enemies.
Galatians chapter 5 tells us that self-control is one of the fruit of the Spirit. It’s one of the ongoing visible evidences that the spirit of God lives within us.
Self-control is an inner strength. For the follower of Jesus, it is a God-given ability to choose what is right, to resist temptation, and to make choices in the moment that honor the Lord.
Almost every failure to be Christ like can be traced to a lack of self-control, but, on the other hand, almost every success at being Christ like can be attributed to the power of self-control.
So how can we exercise self-control?
If the problem is our sinful desires, then we need a greater desire – a right desire – to rule our hearts.
Self-control comes from a desire to love and honor and glorify God above any thing else – he is our highest love and greatest desire. A right heart and right desires come from a surrendered life to Christ.
We need God’s strength. We need the Spirit of God. Nothing less than the Spirit of God can give us the strength that we need to fight the battle – the spiritual battle – the lifelong conflict between flesh and Spirit.
You cannot fight this fight on your own, in your own strength. You do not have the strength within yourself to do it; and so we need to be turning to God in acknowledgment of our own weakness, and in dependence upon him for his strengthening
We need to fight. We need to be engaged in the battle. We need to remember that being dependent on the Holy Spirit does not exclude discipline. We need to take seriously our role in turning away from sin and resisting temptation.
Today’s Challenge: Choose to walk in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Choose to exercise self-control. If there is an area of sin or weakness, stop right now and surrender it to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Ask God for strength to honor him in all you do.
- Why is consistent self-control such a struggle?
- How does the Holy Spirit enable us to exercise self-control?
- In which area of you life would you like to exercise more self-control?
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