“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28
I’m not a big fan.
I don’t suppose many people are, but it’s particularly hard for those of us who enjoy a bit of control. It was probably the most difficult part of the otherwise wonderful journey of pregnancy for me. I remember waddling through a forest trail with my two and four year old girls, very pregnant with darling #3. Instead of enjoying the surroundings, I remember feeling frustrated that should a hungry bear happen upon us, I had no chance of tucking a girl under each arm and racing them to safety. (As if my chances otherwise were very good…)
As well, I have made it abundantly clear to my family that I will not be held responsible for any physical injury they would suffer should they choose to tickle me.
I don’t like vulnerability.
Oh, I understand that there’s an inherent vulnerability that comes from being fragile human beings in a fallen world. But when I saw in scripture that there is a certain type of vulnerability I don’t need to experience, believe me, I was all ears.
In ancient times, cities were encompassed in vast, protective walls. If a city was conquered, the destruction of its walls by the victor was both a graphic depiction of its defeat and a cruel sentence of future vulnerability. Any subsequent foe had ready access to these easy targets.
Do you have that picture in your mind? A group of defenseless victims, exposed in perilous times?
If we live without the protection of self-control, we are those people.
Without that sturdy wall around us:
- Our unchecked words and emotions could lay waste to precious relationships.
- Our health habits could make us easy prey to injury and many deadly yet preventable diseases.
- Our desire for immediate pleasure and comfort could bind us in a marriage that is more prison than peace, or cause us to abandon the one we vowed loyalty to before God.
- Our unwillingness to control where our thoughts linger could trap our emotions in a dungeon of anger, selfishness or depression.
- Our tendency to give in to every ding, chime and notification could plunder precious minutes, days and years with our families that we will never, ever get back.
Loss. Destruction. Captivity. Our fate without self-control.
Contrary to what our culture tells us, giving in to every whim and desire is never freedom. Instead, it invites sorrowful bondage of varied sorts.
But wouldn’t you know it:
God offers us protection in the form of the grossly undervalued virtue of self-control. This magnificent defense is listed among the lovely qualities the Holy Spirit will grace our lives with (Gal. 5:22-23) as we rely on His leading and make every effort to add it to our faith repertoire. (2 Peter 1:5-8) *Divine offer valid in all states & provinces. Some effort required.
We need self-control, you and I. Because far from being the antiquated character relic many chalk it up to be, it is a robust defence against the daily barrage of marauding desires.
I’m not a fan of vulnerability, so I checked my walls this week and found a gap or two.
What about you friend…