8 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Jeremiah 37:1–38:28
1 Timothy 6:1-21
Psalm 89:38-52
Proverbs 25:28

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Proverbs 25:28 (NLT): “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.”

Reflections from Scripture:

Proverbs 25:28 provides a powerful word picture that stands as a sobering warning to each of us.

First of all, we have the picture that illustrates the point – “a city with broken-down walls.”

City walls in those days were massive! They were thick, and they were tall. They had huge gates that were typically opened during the day and closed at night or when there was a threat from an enemy. Those walls kept the enemy out while the citizens inside were protected.

That’s a simple principle, right? The walls kept the bad stuff outside.

Well, we are told in Proverbs 25:28 that “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” 

It is easy to see that “self-control” is compared to the city walls. Just as the walls of the city kept the bad stuff out, so does self-control.

Someone who is self-controlled will have plenty of bad things outside of their body and mind that will pose as temptations. But, self-control will keep those bad things outside the body and mind. The quality of self-control will protect the mind and body by not letting those bad things in, whatever those bad things are.

This principle may not yet be clear so let’s explain a little more.

There are all sorts of bad things that would seek to harm us. Lust, gluttony, jealousy, anger, … this list is lengthy. So, how can we overcome those bad things and not allow them to take root in our minds and hearts? We must build the “city walls” around our mind and heart. In other words, we need to develop self-control (also known as self-discipline).

So, how do we develop self-control (self-discipline)? One of the easiest ways that I can think of is to simply tell yourself “no” when you are tempted to say “yes.” In doing so, you remind your body and mind who is actually in charge.

For instance, you may find yourself craving a bowl of ice cream. Maybe enjoying that bowl of ice cream isn’t sin because you haven’t been engaged in gluttony. It simply provides you with an opportunity to say “no.” When you tell yourself “no” and then live with your choice even though your body craves the ice cream, you are developing self-control and the ability to say “no” to other things, especially those things that are bad or sinful.

If you really want to go for the jugular, then consider going on a fast. Ask the Lord when you should start and how long you will go without food, and then begin. I have learned that when I go on fasts and continually tell my hungry body “no,” it develops (at least temporarily) a great deal of self-control.

So, don’t be like a city without walls. There are a lot of things that would seek to harm you. Protect yourself. Be a person of self-discipline. Do what it takes to develop that self-control and then rely upon the Lord as you enjoy the benefits of living a life with tall, sturdy walls around your mind and heart.

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, while so many people are simply satisfied with a supposed salvation experience as a free ticket to Heaven, I want to take my walk with You seriously. I want to enjoy You and obey You. But there are so many things that would seek to undermine my desire to achieve greater degrees of holiness. So please help me, Lord Jesus, develop the city walls of self-control around my mind and heart. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.

Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by JEONGUK – on Unsplash