On Self-Control

CORAL FORMATIONS NEAR KING’S WHARF, BERMUDA
Proverbs  25:28 New International Version (NIV)

28 Like a city whose walls are broken through
    is a person who lacks self-control.

In a way, self-control is the key to life: fruitful, abundant, satisfying, fulfilling.  If that statement strikes you as a a bit of hyperbole, consider Jesus’ statement toward the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 7:13-14 New International Version (NIV)

The Narrow and Wide Gates

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

There are a lot of ways to define it, I suppose:

  • Faithfulness in the little things
  • An understanding of the value of delayed gratification
  • Dominion of the reason over the appetites
  • Living with a vision that sees beyond the immediate

Self-control is a faith issue.  Faith looks beyond immediate circumstances or conditions, beyond what’s tangible to the senses into the realm of possibilities. So does self-control.  It denies the immediate impulse of strong emotions, appetites and cravings, pride and greed in favor of a long-term goal.

Lack of self-control leaves wreckage in our lives: poverty, addictions, broken relationships, shame and isolation.  In one of the tragic ironies of life, unconstrained living promises freedom and delivers bondage.

The habits, attitudes and assumptions of a disciplined life are like a psychic and spiritual fortress.  They protect us from the “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” with their seducing, accusing, confusing lies.  Inside, there is peace.  There is stability.  There is security.

This kind of self-control is a fruit, a grace of the Holy Spirit.  He comes to change our perspective, to renew our minds, to deliver us from the power of world, flesh and devil.

Self-control is a fruit of the renewed mind.  When our thinking is transformed, our habits change, and our habits are like the rudders of our souls; they set the course of our lives.

David’s description of the blessed guy in Psalm 1 is a beautiful picture of this dynamic.  Because his thinking is shaped by the Law of the Lord and not by the corrupting influences of the surrounding culture  that lives by instinct, appetite and the unbridled self, his life bears good fruit.  Having secured his walls from the hostile invader of thoughtless living, he has shalom in his house.

 

 

written by FIC brother Noval

originally posted January 31, 2019, at https://lifeintheriver.wordpress.com/