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Like a city breached, without walls,
   is one who lacks self-control.”
Proverbs 25:28
D. L. Moody, the great evangelist of the 19th Century, was once asked, “Of all the people you have come in contact with, who would you say it is that gives you the most trouble?” He said, “That’s easy, D.L. Moody.”
We chuckle because we understand all too clearly the one who consistently gives each of us the most trouble, the one we have to clean up after the most, the one we have to correct the most, is none other than ourselves. Proverbs 25:28 gives us another word picture of our understanding of, and need for, self-control. “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”
In ancient times, the walls were a city’s primary line of defense. This is why Nehemiah wept when he heard the walls of his beloved Jerusalem were in disrepair. To him, this news meant the bad guys were getting in; they had free run of the city. Since the walls had crumbled, they were in control of Jerusalem.
For a Christian, self-control is our “wall”-our wall of defense when it comes to the sinful desires that can run rampant and lead us away from the things of God. What “walls” have you allowed to come down in your life? Where is the enemy getting in? In his book, Hidden in Plain Sight, Mark Buchanan says self-control is indeed keeping our desires in check, but he also says it’s more than that. “Self-control is a trained and learned capacity to see what matters most. It’s a disciplined attentiveness to what God has done and is doing. It’s really about paying attention. Before it’s the strength to hold yourself back, it’s the ability to see, without distortion or illusion, what’s really going on, and the wisdom to act in light of it.”
Dear Friends in Christ, our loving God sent His only Son to die for our sins and free us from sin’s grasp. He adopted us into His family. Isn’t that enough motivation to embrace this fruit of the Spirit, namely self-control, and strive for holiness? Pray for self-control to become more a part of your life. Pray for “disciplined attentiveness.”
The Rev. Dick Elwood
Pastoral Associate
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