Relearning the Discipline of Self-Control in a Society of Instant Gratification, Part 1

We must be like a city with strong walls as we practice self-control.

As believers, we face temptation on a daily basis. Self-control is the wall of defense against the sinful desires that wage war against our soul. We must be like a city with strong walls as we practice self-control.

 

In Joshua 6, God spoke to Joshua and told him how to take the city of Jericho for the Israelites by knocking down its walls.

So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. – Joshua 6:20

Without walls, the Israelites were able to march right in and capture the city. In biblical times the walls of a city were its main defense. If a city was without walls it was easy for an enemy to come in and capture it. It would be foolish to have a city with no walls because that would be an open invitation for the enemy to come and take it over.

Proverbs 25:28 says, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” God is telling us here that we are like the city of Jericho, open to the attacks of the enemy and waiting for destruction when we don’t practice self-control. As believers, we face temptation on a daily basis. Self-control is the wall of defense against the sinful desires that wage war against our soul. We must be like a city with strong walls as we practice self-control.

In this article, I want to give an overview of what self-control is and what we are to do with it in our lives. In Part 2 I will give three areas in our lives where we must practice self-control and, finally in Part 3, give four walls to help you cultivate self-control in your life.

What is Self-Control?

The Oxford Dictionary defines self-control as “The ability to control oneself, in particular, one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult situations.” For believers, it is the power to restrain sin in our lives. It is saying “no” to sin and the temptation of sin when our flesh wants to indulge. This, however, is not something we can do on our own. As believers, we must rely upon the Holy Spirit. Self-control is not the product of our own human effort, but a gift of God that we are able to exercise as we give our lives over to Christ.

Self-control is a gift

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7

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