A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. (Proverbs 25:28)
Today’s verse likens the Christian life to a city with walls. Scripture warns us that the Christian who lacks self-control is like a city whose protective walls have been broken down. In the ancient world, a city without walls had no way of protecting itself against its enemies. Here the Almighty has painted a stark picture that is designed to get our attention and urge us to take appropriate actions.
How is it with you? We all fail to exercise self-control at times, whether it is in the words we utter, the thoughts we indulge, or the deeds we do. When we don’t practice self-control, we display that there are cracks in our walls. I want to encourage you today to contain those cracks before collapse comes. Know this: If we are to contain those cracks that exist in our walls—and we all have them—we must be fully committed to living a disciplined life, one which has clear boundaries set, especially in those areas where we know that we struggle most.
Our Lord Jesus provided us with the perfect model of self-control. Having been “born under the Law” (Galatians 4:4), Jesus lived in such a way as to fulfill every aspect of the Law of God. Have you ever thought about how distressing it must have been for our sinless Savior to live amidst the constant reminders of mankind’s sinful condition—seeing and hearing and knowing the thoughts of all of us, who sin both by nature and by habit?
Yet He who knew no sin died in the place of sinners, that we might have eternal life. His self-control was rooted in His supernatural, sacrificial love for us. When we understand that, it seems to me that we know enough to desire living a self-controlled life for the glory of our Savior. He lived a life of love on our behalf; surely we can live lives that say “I love you, Lord” back to Him. When we do, we will contain the cracks that appear in the walls of our witness before the inevitable collapse comes.
Perhaps there is no better way to put the Gospel on display than through our exercise of self-control. Made in His image and redeemed by His blood, we have been given His Holy Spirit to indwell us and strengthen us in all matters of self-control. When we exercise this fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), we glorify the One who chose the path of self-control in order to redeem you and me.
In what areas of your life are you currently exercising self-control? Praise His mighty name for the supernatural strength He provides you to live well! But let me also ask you this: in what areas of your life are you failing to exercise self-control? Praise His mighty name, and confess your cracks to Jesus, trusting that His blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7), and pray for renewed strength to contain the cracks in the wall of your witness so that collapse will never occur.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!