July 27, 2009

Wall of Defense

Nehemiah 1:1-4

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a man who lacks self-control.
Proverbs 25:28


Nehemiah’s heart sank when he heard about the condition of Jerusalem’s walls. He was serving in the Persian palace at Susa when word reached him that Jerusalem’s walls were in shambles. “When I heard these things,” Nehemiah wrote, “I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah was devastated because he knew that in those days a city without walls was unsafe and destined to destruction.

We too are left wide open to attack if self-control is missing in our lives. Self-control is another important quality of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Unless we cooperate with the Spirit to nurture self-control in us, enemies of every sort will run roughshod over us. Pornography, anger, alcohol, and jealousy are just a few examples of adversaries against which we have no defense when we lack self-control.

In Titus 2 Paul stresses the importance of self-control for men and women, young and old, in the Christian community (2:2-6). “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (2:11-12). Self-control is a key to nurturing and guarding all the qualities of spiritual fruit.

In the orchard you are planting in my life, O God, grant me self-control. Give me a driving passion for Jesus and his kingdom that overcomes every lesser passion. Amen.

About the author — Shawn Brix

Rev. Shawn Brix has served as pastor in several Ontario churches. He and his wife, Jenny, have three children.

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