A City Without Walls: The Value of Self-Control

By Maureen Silveyra 02-2022

“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”  NIV

Proverbs 25:28 NIV

We don’t usually have walls around our cities now, though there are some around the world that still do, but in Biblical times, walls were security for the town from invading countries and people groups.  Walls were purely meant to keep intruders out and to keep people inside protected and at peace.  

Proverbs 25:28 A Walled City

How important were walls?  Very!  We can read about what happened to Jerusalem in 2 Kings 25, around 587 or 586 BC, when the city’s walls were broken through by Nebuchadnezzar’s –king of Babylon’s–army.  It was utter devastation.  the King of Judah was captured, his sons all killed, the temple was set on fire along with the palace and houses in Jerusalem, the walls were broken down, important people of the town were taken prisoner or executed,  the gold, silver and bronze that made up the Holy things in the temple of God were destroyed or stolen and the poor people were left to work the land as slaves.  It wasn’t a pretty picture.

A city’s wall were meant to:

  • Protect
  • Keep harmful things/ people out
  • Keep good things in
  • Protect treasure
  • Protect the king
  • Regulate what came in and out

If walls were down like in Nehemiah’s time, the city was

  • Vulnerable
  • Weak
  • Bad stuff could come in easily
  • No regulation of what comes in or goes out
  • Ruler and treasure are exposed
  • No feeling of peace

Proverbs 25:28 says “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”  NIV  

So, after seeing the mass devastation caused by this very thing happening to Jerusalem about 400 years after King Solomon wrote his wisdom down for us to consider, we can appreciate what he means.

So, how are our walls of self control?  I believe this is one of the most important spiritual disciplines for our time.  When internet gives us access to so many things–good and bad–right at our fingertips and directly into our minds, how are we guarding ourselves?  With other temptations around us–drugs, porn, using social media to tear down others, or social media that exposes us to very sexual visuals, how are we doing with our self-control?

Part of guarding the city of our lives is to regulate what goes in and what comes out.  Once images go into our mind either on purpose or accidentally, it is extremely difficult to get rid of them.  I saw a scene from a couple of movies in college that were playing on the tv in the lounge and I still wish I could not remember them!  So what do we do to maintain self control?  The first thing to do is find out what God’s word says our boundaries should be.  Once we know that, we can start the process of regulating what goes in or comes out.  

If we are watching a show, movie, YouTube or TikTok video that doesn’t line up with God’s standards, we stop it.  Sometimes we need a battle plan before even going onto social media to figure out how to avoid what we know we could expose ourselves to. 

If we are thinking something outside the box of what God wants for us, we do what 2 Corinthians 10:5 says:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  NIV

We take it captive.  That is to say, we identify it as bad or unhealthy, and stop dwelling on it.  We identify it as an intruder and throw it out of the city of our life.  It may keep trying to come back.  Keep throwing it out of your city walls. 

 We really may need to look at the people we let into our lives.  If  they are influencing us for ungodly things, we need to keep them out of the heart of our city.  

There were guards posted at city gates and it is also where Kings would sit and judge what happens.  We need to guard our city gate.  What goes in through our eyes and ears.  We need to let God help us judge what is right and what is not.

Lincolnshire Walls, UK

There were watchmen on the tower.  We can sometimes see trouble coming at us.  Then we need to strengthen our faith.  If we know what kind of attack it is, we can find the verses in the Bible that will help us combat it.  The word is our sword!  See Ephesians 6:17 which says “ Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  If you don’t know what the Bible says, how can you defend your city when it is being attacked?

The city of Jerusalem had a temple inside of it.  This represents our faith life.  Our faith and relationship stays in tact with God when our city of our life is in order and regulated.  If the walls of our self control go down, our faith  will be quick to suffer.

You are a person worth protecting!  Maybe you have set up good borders around your city or maybe your city is in chaos and has been overrun by the Enemy, but how do you know?  Galatians 5 gives us some good indicators of how a life would look without walls of self control, and what a life with self control would look like.

Galatians 5:19-26 NLT

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

If you are following the desires of sin, there will be chaos, there will be no peace, there will be hate and meanness going on all around.  Sexual impurity in thought or action are not meant to be in your city!  Witchcraft, psychic readings and drug use are not supposed to be in your city!   Arguing, fighting, being jealous, division–those are not meant to be inside your city walls.  Getting drunk, and having wild parties are sin and are not supposed to be in your city.

But those who have self-control bordering their lives will have peace and joy!  They will have peace because they throw anxiety out the city gate when they see it come in.  They will be gentle, kind and faithful friends.  They will have great treasure inside themselves because they will have protected the treasure of themselves, their faith, and the things they value most.

You are a city worth protecting.  Build up your walls of self-control so you can be a city on a hill that cannot be hidden because its lights will shine as a beacon of hope and life to others.

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