Proverbs 25:28, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”
I’ll never forget the first time I really understood this proverb. I was talking to a friend who was giving me counsel, after I had been in an argument with another pastor. In my hurt and frustration I asked him, “Why is it I feel drained and overwhelmed with emotion?” He responded back with this proverb and explained to me that when I lacked self-control by losing my temper in my disagreement with the other pastor, I became an easy target for the enemy.
If we don’t control our emotions, they’ll control us; and uncontrolled emotions make us vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks.
My biggest temptation is to lose control of my temper. For others it’s hard for them to control their sex drive. Some find it difficult to control their eating and spending habits; and some people cannot control their thoughts and words. No matter what it is, if we don’t practice self-control over the things in our life, we will suffer.
Often times in Christianity, we think that because God’s grace saved us, it’s up to us to obey God’s commands in our own efforts. However, without God’s grace, we cannot please God and obey any of His commands. The answer for those who lack self-control isn’t to have more self-discipline; the answer for those who lack self-control is to yield their control to God.
In other words, we need to learn how to be led by the Holy Spirit, like a sheep is led by its shepherd. Jesus commanded us to “deny ourselves” in Luke 9:23 because when we do, He can take the wheel and drive our lives. Also, Paul said to count the old sinful self as “crucified with Christ” in Galatians 2:20 because self-help will not work if our self is still sinful. The only way we can have true self-control is to yield our self to the control of the Holy Spirit.
When we are full of God’s Spirit and led by God’s Word, we will always be able to keep our self in control. God promised us in 2 Timothy 1:7 that the Holy Spirit would give us all we need to avoid being out of control; “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” The Bible also teaches that self-control is one of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s fruit in our lives (Galatians 5:23). When we give the control of ourselves to God, He gives us a new nature and the ability to control our emotions in the face of temptations.
Max Lucado wrote, “I am a spiritual being… After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ.” Let God have control of your emotions and filter them by the Holy Spirit through His Word. We have the power to resist emotional invasion from the enemy because God guards the walls of our heart with the fruit of self-control!
- Repent for any times you lacked self-control.
- Ask God to develop the fruit of self-control in you.
- If you ever notice your emotional walls coming down; deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus!