How To Be A City With Walls
By Pastor J.D. Link
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Proverbs 25:28 says, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Cicero said, in all ages “fewer men are found who conquer their own lusts than that overcome the armies of enemies.” A Christian who does not practice self control, leaves himself completely exposed to every attack and deception of Satan. In Bible times, a city without walls was a vulnerable, defenseless “sitting duck” – just asking to get robbed, pillaged and destroyed. Self control is your wall. Self control will keep the gates closed on Satan’s tricks and temptations. Without self control, you might as well hang a sign around your neck that says: “Welcome Satan! Greetings demonic hoards! Please, come in and steal, kill & destroy! Yes, come in and ruin my life! Thank you!”.
If you have the indwelling Holy Spirit, a fruit of the Spirit is self control. Don’t say you “can’t” control yourself. That is a lie. The truth is, you “won’t” control yourself, because you don’t really want to – or you don‘t think you can. Essentially, this is spiritual laziness, passivity and victim playing. If the Spirit of Christ dwells in you, and a fruit of the Spirit is self control (Gal 5:23, “temperance” in KJV) – then the Bible says we can do all things through Christ which strengthens us (Philp 4:13). This means, you CHOOSE to not be self controlled. “That’s just the way I am” or “I just can’t help it”, is just a person justifying themselves; making excuses; not humbling themselves; and blaming everyone and everything (BUT themselves, of course) for their wrong/bad/stupid/etc. choices.
I can choose self control or self indulgence. I can choose life or death. I can choose blessing or cursing. I can choose to keep the door closed on the Devil, or I can choose to invite him in. I can choose to rule myself, or be ruled by the world, the flesh & the Devil. I can choose to be poured into the mold of Jesus and heaven, or to be poured into the mold of Satan and this world. I can choose! It might be very difficult and painful at times. It might take time and effort to get the victory in certain areas. Nevertheless, I can choose self control.
We sure like to pound the pulpit about our free will and our rights; but we sure don’t like to take the responsibility for the choices we make! Its like, we’re Armenians when it comes to our rights, but Calvinist when it comes to our responsibility! So, how do you practice self control? How do you overcome temptation? What are practical steps one can take to get the victory over their flesh? How does one become a “walled city”?
Pro 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” We must keep our heart with all diligence. As we think in our heart, so we are (Prv 23:7). That’s why Jesus said, “If you hate in your heart, you are a murderer… if you look in lust, you are an adulterer in heart.” We must continually guard our heart, to successfully overcome temptation and practice self control. Here are some simple yet effective ways to keep our heart right (they are all important, and they all work together as one).
1. Nipping thoughts in the bud. When sin, evil, wickedness – any demonic, impure, unclean, or antichrist thought pops in your head, immediately take it captive and cast it down (2Cor 10:3-5)! You CANNOT entertain them! Replace it with the Word of God ASAP. Practice this constantly. Most of us would not struggle near as much as we do, if would destroy the thought when it is only at the acorn level; instead of trying to fight against it when has taken root, and become a great oak!
2. Carry a Bible with you everywhere (if the app is on your phone, that’s fine). When a temptation tries to overcome you (it starts in your thoughts), and you feel you may lose control, read one chapter of the New Testament or Psalms. If the desire is still there, read a second chapter, then a third, etc.; until that desire has passed. The Word of God is a powerful sword. I’m telling you, this is simple, but it works. And if you’re one who is used to always giving into the flesh and temptation – why, you may be a Bible scholar before too long! If you can’t stop to read it because of circumstances, then listen to it. If you can’t do that, then pray whatever memorized prayers or Scriptures you know, as many times as you need to, until that desire passes. If you don’t have any of the Word memorized yet (you need to do that), then just say, “Praise you Jesus! Thank you Jesus! I love you Jesus!” until it passes. There is power in the name of Jesus!
The temptation will pass. Many of us are just used to giving into it, and don’t realize this. Like hunger pains when fasting – they will rare up, and then settle back down. Just don’t obey them. We are disciples of Christ. Disciples practice the disciplines of their Master. Our Master, when tempted, defeated the temptation with the Word of God. Speaking the Word; Praying the Word; repeating the Word; memorizing the Word; confessing the Word – that is how you beat the devil; overcome temptation; and practice self control! If you want victory, hide God’s Word in your heart (Ps 119:9-11).
3. Fast. Fasting will: loose the bands of wickedness… undo the heavy burdens… let the oppressed go free, and… (will) break every yoke (of bondage) (Isa 58:6). Fast a meal; fast all day; fast three days – just do it. Put your flesh under. Practice self discipline. Here is a good beginning step – pray, read a few chapters of the Bible, practice memorizing a Scripture at lunch time, BEFORE you eat. You see? You have filled your heart with good things; you have practiced self control; you have put your flesh under; you have put God first. You have said, “God, You are number one…. and flesh, you are not”.
4. Work! Have goals; be productive; be pursuing something (after God, of course. He should be number one); be wanting to achieve something; have hobbies; have productive interests. Pray and write out all the things you would like to accomplish, then start getting after it. Idle hands are the Devil’s tools, and an idle mind is the Devil’s workshop & playground! Much of our temptation battles will be won right here, because we are just too busy living for Jesus and achieving our goals!
I encourage you to really meditate on 2Pt 1:2-10 this week. Faith alone saves, but saving faith is never alone. There are many things that we are told to add to our faith, if we are to “never fall”, and make our calling and election “sure” (firm, stable – vs. 10). Selah.