“Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control” Proverbs 25:28.
One of my granddaughter’s favorite breakfast foods is waffles. The problem is that my sweet girl thinks she can eat waffles on her own but she can’t. Syrup ends up not only all over her hands, but her clothes, hair, chair, floor, her sister, the table and the dog. She then turns to me and says “sticky, yucky.” She lacks the self-control and discipline to eat waffles properly. In the beginning, she starts off pretty good. The first few bites enter her mouth very carefully and seamlessly. However, this pattern is easily broken and things end up a mess.
Adults are not different. We think we know how to do things without God until they turn into a sticky mess. The mess not only affects us but the others around us. We may start off good, but it quickly turns into a disaster. Whether it is emotions, thoughts, words, finances, relationships, food, or anything else, without self-control these things can turn sour quickly. Proverbs 25:28 states “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” A city whose walls are broken down lacks structure and is vulnerable to the enemy’s attack. Without self-control, our lives lack structure and are an easy target for the enemy. It is the lack of self-control over envy and jealousy that caused Cain to kill Abel. It is the lack of self-control that caused Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. It is the lack of self-control that causes David to commit adultery with Bathsheba. Notice a pattern? It is no surprise that the lack of self-control brings devastating results.
So how do we attain self-control? We must surrender control to Him. To gain self-control one must surrender control to the Father. This paradox is hard to grasp. With my granddaughter, despite the several requests I make to let Papa control the fork, she refuses and wants to do things on her own terms. The result is a catastrophe! The irony is that if she surrenders her fork, I will give her what she desires.
This is true about our heavenly Father. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4). The problem is that the connotation of surrender has such a negative stigma attached in our culture. Surrender sounds like one is weak or gives in easily. However, surrendering to the Lord is quite the opposite. Yet, another paradox. By surrendering to Him, one is not giving up but strengthening. God wants us to attain self-control. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23. He wants us to attain self-control but it is only possible by surrendering control to Him.
When my granddaughter ultimately surrenders her fork, I let her eat her waffles. The funny thing is that a couple of days later when we have waffles again for breakfast, how quickly she forgets. Surrender the fork to Papa and I will get my waffles without half of them ending up on the floor and feeling yucky and sticky. Surrendering is not a one-time event but many times an ongoing process. Oh, how I can’t wait till my grandchild can feed herself waffles without making a mess but it is going to take some maturity on her part.
“Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature” 1 Corinthians 14:20. Self-control requires Reliance on Him and Maturity in you.