He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls—Prov. 25: 28.
The battle with self is the greatest battle, and we have the Lord's word for it that he that "ruleth his spirit [his own mind, will] is better than he that taketh a city," because he has to that extent learned to exercise the combativeness of a true character in the right direction, in self-control. It is after we have had considerable experience in battling with sin and selfishness in ourselves, in casting the beam out of our own eyes, in subduing anger, malice, hatred and strife in our own hearts and flesh—it is then, and by means of this severe battle and experience, that we shall be prepared to assist the brethren, and to assist our neighbors in their difficulties—to help them to overcome their besetments and weaknesses.
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The word spirit here means disposition; and to have no rule over one's spirit means to lack self-control. Such a person, from the standpoint of character, is a wreck. Solomon illustrates this by a city that is broken down and without walls. Accordingly, in our dispositions we are like a city, our various good qualities corresponding to the homes, our good thoughts to the soldiers defending the city and self-control to the wall of the city. Outside are sin, error, selfishness and worldliness, as soldiers under Satan, their general, and the flesh and the world, his lieutenants. These will chiefly assault our self-control, which breaking down, they will desolate every good thought and quality in our possession. Our chief concern is to prevent a breach in the wall of self-control. So doing, we will prove victors in our defensive warfare, preserving our symbolic city from ruin.
Parallel passages: Psa. 116: 11; Prov. 14: 29; 16: 32; 19: 2; 21: 5; 23: 2; 25: 8; 29: 20; Eccles. 5: 2; 7: 9; Luke 14: 26, 27; Rom. 8: 12, 13; 13: 14; 14: 1—15: 5; 1Cor. 6: 12; 8: 13; 9: 12, 15, 18, 19, 23, 25-27; Col. 3: 5; Titus 2: 12; 1Pet. 4: 1, 2; 2Pet. 1: 6.
Questions: Have I this week exercised or failed to exercise self-control? Why? How?
With what results?
WAIT UPON THE LORD
WHEN clouds hang heavy o'er thy way,
And darker grows the weary day,
And thou, oppressed by anxious care,
Art almost tempted to despair,
Still wait upon the Lord.
When friends betray thy loving trust,
And thou art humbled in the dust,
When dearest joys from thee have fled,
And Hope within thy heart lies dead,
Still wait upon the Lord.
When Death comes knocking at thy door,
And in thy home are sorrows sore,
Though age comes on and eyes grow dim,
Still look to Christ, still trust in Him,
And wait upon the Lord.
Whate'er thy care, believe His word;
In joy or grief, trust in the Lord.
Good courage He will give to thee,
And strong, indeed, thy heart shall be,
By waiting on the Lord.
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