21 For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes.
22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him.
23 He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.
Proverbs 5:21-23 (NLT)
Today, we shall look into the topic of self-control. I admit that I did not like this term in the past. What is self-control anyway? In the past, I used to think it is about denying myself all the good things in life. I thought that a Christian life is a life of suffering. The is why God gives disease to people to show them his sufficient grace and cause disasters to kill a lot of people for his glory. Therefore, I had concluded that self-control simply means ensuring that I don’t ask God for good things in life like health and wealth. Was I right? In this article, we shall look deeper into this topic and find out how we can use self-control for our prosperity.
Let us start from Proverbs 5:21 as shown above. It says “For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes.” Please note the two key words here “sees” and “examining”. Is this good or bad? If I were to read this verse when I was in a religious church, I would have thought of this as a bad news. I would have thought that God is trying to find faults in me. I hated that. I hate live life in fear that the moment I make a wrong move, God will say “Aha! I got you!”. Then he will show me his “sufficient grace”. So, how am I supposed to love God with all my heart, all my soul and all my mind? This is why I do not believe that anyone under the bondage of theology can truly love God. We can never be blackmailed into loving anyone.
I thank God for revealing the truth to me. He is not a pervert. He is not out to get me. He is always on my side no matter what happens in the natural. He wants me to prosper in all things. He wants me to be rich, healthy and be successful in every area of my life. So, when the verse says the Lord sees clearly I do and examining every path that I take, he is doing it for my benefit. Since he sees clearly I do and examining every path that I take, he is able to guide me towards greater prosperity in my life. What is my role in this? All I have to do is to seek him and obey his guidance. God knows what he is doing and his only intention is to bring prosperity into our lives.
When you are truly convinced of this, you will have no problem obeying God. Loving God will be natural to you. You don’t have to force yourself to love God. Instead you will have to force yourself not to love God.
The next verse, we have the answer for the question on whether God punishes evil doers. Let me get this straight. There is a hell, which God has prepared for evil people. Sinners who do not turn to Jesus will have to face eternal punishment. There are also occasions where God executed judgement of to the evil doers like the case of Sodom and Gemorah in the Bible. However, these are not the norm. The norm is God does not punish evil men on earth.
Today, God will not punish you in this life for committing evil regardless of whether you are a Christian. Evil is the punishment by itself. In Verse 22, God says that an evil man is held captive by his own sins. He has also likens evil as ropes that catch and hold those who fall into it. Evil punishes evil men. This is another proof that God is not a pervert who is looking for people to punish.
So, we do not commit evil because evil is bad for us. We are not being blackmailed into goodness. We are good because it is our new born again nature to be good. We are just being ourselves. As Christians, we are born of God. We belong to the same species as God and therefore we are gods. We gods have the goodness of God within us. Those who are at the opposite side from us are the evil people. Their nature is the opposite from ours. I shall also call them non-gods.
In the next verse, God tells us the endings of the non-gods. They will:
1. die for lack of self-control
2. be lost because of his great foolishness
Basically it is bad being evil. Evil people or non-gods do not have self control. It will kill them. They are very foolish. They will be lost. They have no direction in life. This brings us to the main topic of this article, self control.
Based on the context of this passage, it is clear that self control refers to our awareness of our new nature. We Christians are gods. We have the right to live our lives in abundance. We have what it takes to overcome all our problems, to triumph over all our challenges and to excel in everything we do. These are our rights and privileges as gods.
Self control for us simply means we will not sacrifice our rights and privileges as gods no matter what happens. We do not get into evil because evil is beneath us. It is not worthy of us. We live holy lives because only holiness is worthy of us. Sin has no place in our lives. Sin is not only harmful but it is also unworthy for us. So, self control is not that tough after all, don’t you think so?
Verse 23 tells us what will happen if we reject self-control. When we do that, we will stray from our godliness and sink into evil. At that time, we will not be able to exercise our powers as gods. Without godliness to protect us, we will be at the mercy of sin. We will be killed by it. In addition, without godliness we will stray into foolishness. We will be lost and we will have no direction in our lives.
In conclusion, we need self control in order to avoid straying into evil. Self control means being aware of our rights and privileges as gods.