“ A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls” Proverbs 25.28 NLT
We live in a time where denying yourself anything one desires is not even a thought. Hence, our life can suffer without the virtue of self-control. We must control ourselves, our desires, our wants, or we will be as vulnerable as a city with no defenses. The enemy will attack, plunder us and our families, and lead us as prisoners. There is a reason “self-control” is a fruit of the Spirit of God (Galatians 5.22-23). Without self-control we will make decisions, that ultimately will have a high cost.
How would you rate yourself when it comes to self-control? Take some time and really ponder, meditate, and honestly reflect on these questions.
- Do you control yourself when it comes to your focused time of listening and learning from God? Do you make sure you are reading, learning, reflecting? Is this easy to skip? Can you go days without being alone with Jesus?
- Are you a slave to your phone and devices with no self-control? The desire and OCD to constantly invest your time and life to social media to keep looking at what other’s are posting in their lives, is a time-eater. How much per day get this part of you? What could you do to redeem this time?
- Can you say no to temptation? Without self-control we can fall into sin. The enemy tempts all. No one is exempt from temptation. Our heart can deceive us. Our flesh can attempt to lead us down roads we never want to go. Without self-control we can fall victim and make decisions that can ruin our lives and the lives of our family. We can choose sin over the Lord, and violation of God’s ways over our love for Jesus. We must grow our faith and walk, as that will build self-control, and our city walls will defend us from our enemy.
- How do you entertain yourself? Literally we have 24 hours of non-stop entertainment to numb us and gobble up our lives (time), and even infect our spirit. You can stream any movie, Youtube never shuts off, social media it always with us. We have any game available. We are connected and can watch whatever we want, almost wherever we want. Violence, pornography, lewdness, filthy communication, are available to all. Without self-control, one can participate in these things and literally forfeit your soul, and steal your passion and desire for the Lord and purity. We have to be honest, Christian or not, we are losing this front where self-control is desperately needed. The stats on those hooked on pornography is staggering. With its easy availability on every social media platform and our phones, the enemy has found a way to kill a person from the inside out and wreck the love of marriages and view of each other.
- How about your family? Do we serve them? Our flesh may never feel like serving, but a person that has control over themselves will serve, and when Jesus has control of you, they will love being with their family, investing in their marriage, spending time with their children. Hobbies and desires for leisure activities apart from family will take a back seat to a person with self-control. There will be time for them, but not at the expense of your marriage and family.
- How is your diet? Our society is sick because we have no self-control with what we eat or exercise. Capitalism has made food big business. So unhealthy food tastes the best, and sells the most, so it is available, in large quantities, everywhere. Many cannot go a day without soda, frappe, and drinks with hundreds of calories from sugar. Without self-control, our health will suffer, we will have no energy, or desire to be active, and we spiral downward physically, hoping a pill or a health gimmick will save us, but only self-control will. This battle is real and I am in it. I am determined to never give up on my diet and health. I want to have energy and healthy to be active with my grandchildren and children.
So, with self-control in a life, there is big benefits and blessings. Let me write down some observations I have seen with people you have the self-control of God in their lives.
- They grow in Christ and invest in their soul. They read, reflect,and have lives of prayer, thus building their “wall” and protecting their “city” lives (Proverbs 25.28). They enjoy making time daily to commune with the Lord, His Word, and the things that grow them and protect them from evil.
- They are not self-consumed, as self-control has sculpted them into being like Christ, being a servant. A person with self-control lives outside of themselves and goes out of their way for others, to glorify Christ.
- They accomplish things in life that bring purpose and glorify the Lord. With self-control one can get a degree, learn an instrument, hone a skill, enjoy a craft, start a non-profit ministry etc. They are people who are not afraid of trying new things and working hard to see things accomplished. They avoid wasting large bites of time.
- People with self-control are not followers. They don’t allow someone else to lead them into destruction, bad habits, sinful activities. They lead themselves, they are in control of their lives. They want to honor God with their choices. They don’t need to make someone else happy or have their approval.
- People with self-control do hard things that make a difference. They don’t take the easy road. They are up for a challenge. They enjoy the fruit of their goals, even if it takes years.
- People with self-control can love unconditionally, forgive, and live with healthy relationships, as they know Christ, and Christ forgives and the flesh that wants to be bitter, wants to hate people, wants revenge, is put to death, by the person that is in control of their emotions, as they choose to follow Christ.
- They don’t have to apologize much. They don’t lose their cool, say things they shouldn’t and treat people awful. They are in control of themselves, their actions, and what they say. This happens because they are first in control of what they think.
- They make wise financial choices. They can say no and control themselves to wait for the things they need or want. They don’t drive their families in debt and live in poverty because they can’t say no and deny themselves. They save, they wait, they are wise. They also have self-control to give generously to the work of the Lord on this earth.
- People with self-control have convictions about life. They go to work. They go to church. They serve. They give. They think about others. They grow. They are not given to addictions, bad habits, vices, and/or laziness with work or spiritually.
- They say “no” to their flesh. So they are protected from starting an addiction, an affair, a bad habit, or a pattern in life that will ruin them. They watch their health, try to eat healthy. They say no to the temptation of the devil. They say no when others try and get them to sin. They can say no to themselves. They are resolute in their convictions and desire to be faithful to the Lord.
Self-control is a critical attribute and no one is exempt. We need more of it in the day we live. Without self-control, one is going to have a very difficult life, and so will their family. With self-control, one will enjoy side-stepping and avoiding all sorts of problems in life, and will honor the Lord with who they are and who they are becoming with every great, godly, self-controlled choice. They will live a blessed life.
Scriptures to ponder
Galatians 5:22–23 (NASB1995)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Proverbs 15:33 (NASB95)
33 The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom,And before honor comes humility.
Proverbs 11:10 (NRSV)
10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices;and when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.
Proverbs 12:11 (NRSV)
11 Those who till their land will have plenty of food,
but those who follow worthless pursuits have no sense.
Proverbs 12:24 (NRSV)
24 The hand of the diligent will rule, while the lazy will be put to forced labor.
Proverbs 13:3–4 (NRSV)
3 Those who guard their mouths preserve their lives; those who open wide their lips come to ruin.
4 The appetite of the lazy craves, and gets nothing, while the appetite of the diligent is richly supplied.
Proverbs 26:13–16 (NLT)
13 The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion on the road! Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!”
14 As a door swings back and forth on its hinges, so the lazy person turns over in bed.
15 Lazy people take food in their hand but don’t even lift it to their mouth.
16 Lazy people consider themselves smarter than seven wise counselors.
2 Peter 1:5–6 (NLT)
5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,