The Importance of Self Control

28 A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.
Proverbs 25:28 (NLT)

The above verse tells us that a person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls. It was written before the application of gun powder in warfare. In the times before the invention of cannons, fortified walls were the most effective defense for cities. As long as the walls are in good shape, the city is secure. However, if the walls were broken down, the city would be vulnerable to attacks from external forces. In the above verse, God sees a person who does not have self-control is like a city with broken down walls. This person is vulnerable.

What is self-control anyway? It means the ability to take full control of ourselves and discipline ourselves to be at peace and rational even if we were provoked. There could be times you might feel like slapping, punching or killing someone for saying or doing things that made you angry. However, you had the self-control to restraint yourself from doing something stupid. As you look back now, you are glad that you did not kill that scum or you will still be in jail now.

Another part of self-control is in disciplining ourselves from giving in to our lusts. These lusts could be in the form of craving for food, excessive spending, alcohol, gambling, adultery and any other harmful activities. Self-control is basically the ability of our rational mind to control our bodies and pride in order to protect ourselves from being vulnerable to attacks.

I remember reading an interview with a self-confessed Satanist. According to the interviewee, Satanism is not about worshipping Satan. These folks do not believe in God nor Satan. Their operating principle is indulgence. In other words, they do whatever they feel like doing. They consider Christians to be hypocrites because sometimes we restrain ourselves from doing what we feel like doing.

Now, do you think these Satanists are able to live happy life with their unrestraint indulgence? What will the quality of your life be, if you are to live with unrestraint indulgence (or the absence of self-control)?

When you feel like getting drunk, you get drunk.
When you feel like taking drugs, you take drugs.
When you feel like not working, you don’t go to work.
When you feel like committing adultery, you commit adultery.

Will you be able to live a happy, healthy and prosperous life? Will you have a strong family? Will you be successful? You will never be able to live the life of total prosperity God wants you to have if you do not have self-control. You will end up wasting all your prosperity. This tells us that self-control is vital to our prosperity.

The Bible is not the only book that speaks of the necessity of self-control. Below are the excerpts from Sun Tzu Art Of War that show us that the lack of self-control is a disastrous weakness that our enemies can take advantage on.

I. Laying Plans
22. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.

III. Attack by Stratagem
5. The general, unable to control his irritation, will launch his men to the assault like swarming ants, with the result that one-third of his men are slain, while the town still remains untaken. Such are the disastrous effects of a siege.

VIII. Variation in Tactics
12. There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general:
(1) Recklessness, which leads to destruction;
(2) cowardice, which leads to capture;
(3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults;
(4) a delicacy of honor which is sensitive to shame;
(5) over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble.

In conclusion, if you have no self-control, you are a loser. You have to work hard on it.


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