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And The Walls Come Tumbling Down

Proverbs 25:28 says, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” The Old Testament of the Bible is full of stories about armies attacking strong cities. In most cases, the walls of the city kept the army from gaining immediate access. Sometimes the walls kept out the invading army for months and sometimes turned them away for good.

In stark contrast to those stories is the battle for Jericho in Joshua 6. Jericho had strong walls that fell flat after seven days. The entire city was captured immediately afterward. Without the walls, there was nothing keeping the Israelites from walking in and taking whatever they wanted.

The word picture in Proverbs 25:28 should bring to our mind a hostile force trying to steal something of value from us. The hostile force, in this case, is our own natural desires. We naturally want, for instance, to be lazy and not work toward what really matters. This natural tendency, unless harnessed by self-control, will overwhelm our lives and steal from us what is really important. We are inclined to please ourselves, which is okay  to a point. But when we let that desire slip from our control it leads to a hostile takeover of the things that really matter, such as our purity, our marriage, health, finances or our sobriety.

The scripture teaches us in Romans 6:16 that we are slaves to whatever we choose to obey. We can either be a slave to sin or to righteousness. Self control, the act of being obedient to what we know is right, will free us from the power and destructive force of self-indulgence.

Reflect:

  • The Scripture doesn’t teach extreme self-denial, but it does emphasize self control. What is the difference?
  • What is one example that comes to mind of when you have let your self-control slip and lost something of value? What impact did this have on your life?
  • What is one way you can help yourself be more self-controlled? When you have trouble fighting for your self control, turn to God for help. Read Galatians 5:16-24.

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