In reading from Proverbs 25 today I was strangely affected by verse 28. In the ESV it reads: A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
The verse doesn’t say anything necessarily profound or dramatic, but the way it communicates this simple truth struck me today. If we think only momentarily about the nature and purpose of city walls we can see the comparison being made. The city wall was meant to keep out trouble. Human attackers, dangerous animals, etc. all fell against the towering protective walls of a city. In the same way, then, God has given man self-control as a means of fighting off danger, temptation, and attack. A man lacking this is prone to be oppressed and conquered by every foe, whether strong or a triffle.
It’s amazing how many people today run without self-control. I know my own life is littered with stories and occassions where I have quickly and easily succumbed to various temptations. But to be a man totally lacking in self-control is a man who is carried away into slavery by every enemy. Every kingdom that would come against his city, to do battle will find, when they arrive, no defenses. They will seize him with ease and quickly make him a slave to sin. A man with self-control, however, will fight and endure and hold of temptation.
Now the danger in communicating this is that I may seem to be suggesting that a man’s own mental and physical stregnth is sufficient to endure the onslaught of sinful temptation and the fiery darts of his soul’s great enemy, but it is not! I do not in anyway believe that a simple “can do” attitude and a little gritt will suffice in fighting this spiritual battle. No, it is not simply my self-control that does it, but it is the sanctified self-control of a man controlled by the Spirit of God. Romans 8 communicates this clearly, we are under no obligation to sin, but when we are controlled by the Spirit of God we will put to death the deeds of our sin. So men, don’t be a city without walls!