6/3/13 - PTC_Proverbs 25 - "My Life is OUT OF CONTROL"
Priority Time Challenge 2013
To view the instructions for our journey through the Proverbs and the daily schedule, click here.
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
It's hard to imagine living in a time and place where your security is literally a wall surrounding your city. This was the understanding of the day as Solomon would pen these Proverbs. There would be a constant threat of foreign armies or bandits to break into a city and steal, kill and destroy the city. The image in this proverb is one of the aftermath of such an event. The city broken into, people killed, items stolen and to add insult to injury they destroyed the walls leaving any remaining people exposed to greater risk. The security of life taken away. The future uncertain. This is an awful situation. The closest thing we see to this in our nation are the natural disasters that occur. The tornadoes in Oklahoma. The hurricanes in the Gulf states and East Coast. The earthquakes on the West Coast. People have an apparent security one day and shambles the next.
All of this imagery is intentional within this Proverb. The goal is to feel the emotions of a "city broken into and left without walls." All of this emotion is harnessed to help us see the importance of self-control. When we lack self-control, we invite disaster into our lives. God is serious about self-control. So much so, that it is listed as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). This means upon entry into our lives the Spirit of God is constantly at work to develop self-control in us. Thankfully we are not left alone to develop self control. The Holy Spirit will help us but remember He will not do it for us. We are still responsible for our choices. We must activate self-control.
What are the problems we face developing self-control?
- We have bad habits of self-indulgence that are hard to break.
- We live in a world where we are told, "if it feels good to you do it."
- We have few friends who display self control so we lack encouragement.
- Without daily surrender to the Holy Spirit we are simply not strong enough to control self.
It's easy to see a principle like self-control as such a practical thing that we can forget and neglect the necessary surrender to the Holy Spirit. Our flesh is sinful and desperately selfish. We need God's help and leadership to beak those patterns and find some level of God honoring control in our lives.
What is at risk in your life without self-control?
For me this is where the conviction and honestly a lot of motivation comes from.
- If I don't show self-control in my mind, the temptation to lust could lead me to a stupid decision that would threaten my marriage. This is one of the reasons that I have very firm boundaries regarding what I allow myself to see and whom I allow myself to be around. I watch very few movies, not because I'm a prude and hate all things Hollywood. It's because I know my weaknesses and it's simply better not to expose myself to the sexual content in most movies and prime-time TV today. I will not spend time alone with women. I rarely, if ever, counsel a woman. If I do, it's usually with my wife or assistant. I learned years ago that if I simply decide in advance I can disable many temptations simply because my "life rules" will answer the question long before the temptation comes.
- If I don't show self-control financially, I won't be able to provide for my kids. This is why I drive a 1997 Ford "Exploder." Every time I see my old beat-up truck I smile because she's paid for and I'm saving little by little for my kids to have good opportunities and a few nice things.
- If I don't show self-control, I would get lost in emails and social media. My time is a precious gift that I get no do-overs with. It takes self-control to decide the best use of my time and follow through with those goals and objectives.
- If I don't show self-control in my fitness and nutrition, I will become a fat slob. I know me. I LOVE pizza, doughnuts, ice-cream, hot wings, Dr. Pepper, Doritos, carrot cake, pancakes, Twix, biscuits and gravy…need I go on? I spent some time eating without self-control which, combined with sitting at a desk all day followed by sitting in front of the TV all evening, resulted in a very out-of-shape dude. I made a change and now I attribute much of my life enjoyment to my fitness. I had to make a call, I only eat items on the list above very rarely, like once or twice a year. I just don't want to feel that way again. I want to "honor God with my body." I want to be physically capable for my family as long as possible.
What areas of your life need self-control? I believe any part of our lives that are out of control represents an area where we lack surrender to the Holy Spirit. These areas also represent a major threat to the well-being of your life and those closest to you. Would you be bold enough to write down a list of 3-4 areas that need self-control and start the change by asking for God's help?
God, thank you for the Holy Spirit who gives us the ability to have self-control. I confess fresh today that there is no true self-control apart from You. I need Your wisdom, not just to create limits and boundaries in my life, but to create the right limits and boundaries. If I attempt to simply "be self-controlled" I'll eventually run out of steam and give up. God YOU are the center of any true and lasting self-control. I pray for the many who read this post and struggle with relationships that are out of control - there is more regret here than anywhere. Give singles the ability to step away from unhealthy dating relationships. Give married couples the ability to break bad patterns of communication and make the "die to self" decision. I pray for people who feel out of control with money, food, drugs, alcohol, pornography or any number of temptations out there. God make us into a people who honor You through self-control. I pray the long term effect will be lives that represent a city with strong secure walls. I pray that the enemy would not steal, kill and destroy. Self is HARD to bridle, God we need you!
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