A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls…– Proverbs 25:28
But the fruit of the Spirit is…self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23
Proverbs 25:28 says that a person who lacks self-control is like a city without walls. Why is that a problem? In those days, a city without walls was vulnerable to enemy attacks. So too, unless a person learns, by God’s grace, to master his/her lusts, temper and all sorts of evil inclinations, he/she will be vulnerable to attacks from the world, the flesh, the devil and will be overrun and destroyed by the dominion of sin, which ultimately leads to death. But thanks be to God that, for those who have faith in Christ, God graciously delivers them from both the guilt and bondage of sin (Romans 6:11-14; 8:1). By the Spirit they have the fruit of self-control.
What is self-control? Self-control is like a wall of defence against our sinful desires that wage war against our souls. J.V. Fesko describes it this way, “Self-control is the ability to deny ourselves the indulgence of our sinful desires even when no one can see us, even when no one can know our thoughts. Self-control is ultimately the ability to be controlled, not by the sinful self, but by the Holy Spirit.”
We need to learn self-control in every area of life: eating, drinking, sex, thoughts, emotions, leisure time, work, and more. Even something good can become idolatrous if we overindulge and lack self-control. Let us walk by the Spirit and we will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
Suggestions for prayer
Do you struggle with self-control? Thank God that Christ never lacked self-control and redeemed you from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13). Pray for more self-control and look forward to the day when you will walk perfectly by the Spirit!