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Last but Not Least: Self-Control

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.  Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)

A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.  When the book of Proverbs was written, one of the main sources of strength and protection for a city consisted in the building and maintaining of walls.  A wiped-out wall was considered a breach in security.  A city with walls in disrepair was a city with a shameful reputation.  That’s one of the reasons why Nehemiah was so motivated to begin a building campaign in Nehemiah 1:3.  Those who lived in the capital were in “great trouble and disgrace” because the wall of Jerusalem was broken down.  It was open to attack and ultimate destruction.  The man or woman who lacks self-restraint is like a city that has no effective defence.  The enemy can walk in and out with ease. 

So the most important feature of a city in biblical times was its walls.  And a no less important part of our character has to be self-control.  A person who lacks self-control is defenceless, open to defeat and destruction by the enemy.

In Galatians 5 Paul listed the fruit of the Spirit:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

These are not listed in order of importance.  Self-control is last but certainly not least.  It is of extreme importance and sadly will be lacking in the last days.  While “self-control” is a good translation of the Greek word, it’s a bit deceiving because we all know that we can’t control ourselves simply through our own willpower or self-determination.  The Greek word literally means ‘power from within’ and reminds us that it is the work of the Holy Spirit within us that accomplishes this.

The Bible tells us that we can say no to ungodliness and live self-controlled lives.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.  Titus 2:11-12 (NIV)

Challenge for today: are you keeping in step with the Spirit or is your life out-of-control?  Remember, when you forfeit the fruit of self-control, you are feeble and open to attack.

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