“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28
I vividly recall walking through a grapevine in Israel examining each step attempting to avoid rolling my ankle when my gaze lifted above the vines to notice the remnants of a massive wall on the hillside above. Taken back by the enormity of the wall, I soon realized I was gazing at the remnants of one of the most powerful cities of ancient Israel, Lachish. The city was vitally important, protecting the valley leading to Jerusalem. The city gates and walls of Lachish were enormous and complex providing the greatest assurance of the time. Yet, 2 Kings 18 records the conquest of Lachish by Assyria. The walls of Lachish had fallen and Jerusalem was vulnerable to attack.
City walls were designed for one purpose, protection. An ancient city built without walls would have been easily destroyed and plundered by any invading force. Proverbs 25:28, written in a time of massive city walls, makes a startling comparison: “A man without self control is like a city broken into and left without walls.“ Essentially, a man who cannot control himself is one who is without protection. And I tend to believe that protection extends beyond himself to those he is designed to be a wall for. A man who cannot control his tongue towards his wife and children exposes them. A man who cannot control the integrity of his actions when no one else is watching exposes those closest to him to life’s looting.
Galatians 5, when listing the fruit of the Spirit, lists self-control. God designed us to live by the power of His Spirit enabling us to make choices that have either positive or negative consequences. A man who exercises self-control has an incredible opportunity to provide security to those he encounters, especially those closest to him. Living with integrity by controlling what he thinks, sees, touches, tastes, and hears builds a wall of protection around his own life and those he leads and loves.
God is described in Scripture as a fortress time and time again. He is the place we run to for protection. Living according to His truth builds the walls in our lives. We will still face the challenges of life but our walls will remain secure, built in Him. The rest of the story of 2 Kings 18 describes Hezekiah leading the people to trust the Lord, their fortress. God defeats the entire Assyrian army miraculously. The walls of Lachish had fallen, but the man who walks in self-control, rooted in Christ, will be protected.
In a day of instant self-gratification, how strong are your walls?