Proverbs 25:28 “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Powerful verse that speaks volumes once contemplated. Self-control is the difference between us making a right choice or a wrong choice. Defined, self-control is the “ability to control oneself, in particular ones emotions and desires, especially in difficult situations”. We are all granted this important and necessary ability. This ability of self-control. However, I find that we limit ourselves and our capability to control ourselves, especially in difficult moments. It’s all too easy to give into our emotions and desires (those of the negative and sinful type). When negative emotions and desires begin to surface, we are faced with making a choice: right or wrong. And when we don’t show self-control, that’s when we become “like a city broken into and left without walls”.
When I read about “a city broken into…” I imagine a city in ancient times such as the time of Troy and the wooden horse. I also imagine a city in medieval times with the castle being the city mentioned. For further clarification if those examples are not helpful, picture a peaceful city which is defended all around by walls to keep out those who wish to destroy the city. A peaceful city whose inhabitants are living peaceful lives; not much chaos, not much turmoil. A city thriving. Now let self-control begin to withdraw. Let self-control begin to leave the city. What you end up with is a city broken into.
A city broken into whose wall fell. A wall which has been built up over time. A wall that has been reinforced strengthened and improved over time. Every city, if imagined as a castle in medieval times, is built with thick cement walls. We (our body and our mind) are the city. The wall is our faith. The reinforced strength of the wall is our faith that gets reinforced. Reinforcement of the wall, of our faith, is through those moments when we exhibit self-control. Through those moments when we don’t give into the negative emotions and desires but instead use self-control to make the right choice. We are the city. Faith is the wall. Self-control is the reinforcement/strengthening of the walls. Once we stop using self-control, we stop reinforcing the wall. We stop reinforcing our faith. As we continue to not use self-control, we all together stop reinforcing our walls. Consequently, if we aren’t reinforcing the wall what will happen is the wall will begin to lose strength. As the wall loses strength, the city becomes more and more vulnerable to attacks. Stated earlier we are the city. Faith is the wall. If we lose self-control our faith begins to deteriorate. Furthermore, we leave ourselves open to sinful temptations. As sinful temptations begin to attack us, the city, the end result is havoc within the city.
When a city gets broken into, havoc ensues. This havoc damages the city from the inside, destroying it slowly. Inside the city, there is no control, no order, instead panic spreads. Within the city there is no more feeling of hope. The havoc caused by sin that attacks us leaves us, the city, worn down on our knees looking for somewhere to turn. Once the chaos has subsided, the city’s walls have been broken down and this is where “left without walls” comes into play.
Walls that once stood high enough to touch the heavens and thick enough to withstand any attack are now broken down to rubble. After the chaos and havoc, there is a need to rebuild what was broken down. To rebuild the wall and reinforce its strength becomes priority. And as we rebuild the walls, we are more aware of improving the self-control we once had. However, it takes time to rebuild our wall, our faith. During the rebuilding process, we are still extremely vulnerable to attacks from sin and temptations. We the city are exposed and left easily unguarded to the havoc temptations can cause. However now, during the rebuilding process we exhibit more self-control through the improved awareness we have. And that self-control we exhibit helps reinforce the wall’s strength.
Rebuilding is a process. We rebuild using the methods we first used when we built up our wall prior to it being destroyed. Additionally, we learn of other techniques so that the new wall we build is even more improved and stronger than before. It is vital to acknowledge how the wall was destroyed and failed us the city. If we truly understand how the wall fell, we can then learn new techniques so the walls won’t fall from the way they did before. If we truly understand how our faith took a hit, then we can learn how to prevent our faith from taking a hit like before. Even more, as we exhibit more self-control we begin to see our faith strengthening.
Self-control is important ability to utilize always. It is Christ-like behavior when we use self-control. Not using self-control at times doesn’t mean we are weak and unworthy. It just means we made a mistake and there is a need for improvement and further strengthening. We are all capable of using self-control when faced with negative situations and in difficult moments. Exhibiting self-control is Christ-like behavior which He used throughout the bible. Christ is in each of us. Therefore, the ability to exhibit self-control is as well. “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Let us not suffer the consequences of “a city broken into and left without walls”, instead let us have a city thriving with self-control.