Tuesday, May 23, 2023
A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.
In the ancient world, a city without walls was unprotected and vulnerable. It was susceptible to attack; its people were open targets for bandits and enemies. Their riches and their way of life were susceptible to vandalism and disruption. Chaos lurked around every opening in their walls. The Holy Spirit used this vivid imagery to help us understand that when we abandon our self-control, then we carelessly tear down our own protection from our enemy, Satan!
When we try to live without self-control, we are unprotected, vulnerable, and open targets for similar reasons. We do not have defenses against our enemies. We plunder, dissipate, and destroy our energies, wealth, and relationships. We become our own worst enemies as we soon fall prey to distractions and addictions that waste our time and ruin our lives. Not only must we be self-controlled,  but we must also avoid people without self-control!  Paul's instructions to Titus are a fitting reminder for us as we seek to apply the truth of today's proverb:
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, while we wait for the blessed hope — the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. 
Righteous and holy God, my Abba Father, forgive me. While You know I have loved You and sought to honor and obey You, I have sometimes neglected the discipline and commitment necessary to grow my self-control. You know my heart and my actions, O, God. When I improve my self-control in some areas of my life, I seem to slip in other areas. So, dear Father, as I did when I first came to Jesus and surrendered my life to Him as Lord, I now surrender again, accepting His grace and power afresh. Jesus, continue to pour the Holy Spirit into my spirit to empower me toward greater self-control. * As I seek to be more fully conformed to You, ^ help me grow in my self-control. I ask this prayer, knowing that Jesus' authority and the intercession of the Holy Spirit will make my request heard with power. Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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