I was reading the Proverb for the day (I confess it has been a while), and I came across this nugget at the end of Proverbs 25:
â€œWhoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.â€ (Proverbs 25:28)
Iâ€™ve read that verse literally dozens of times and never noticed it until this morning. And while I thought I knew what Solomon was writing of, I had to investigate. (Donâ€™t you just love it when Scripture intrigues you?!)
To an ancient reader a city broken down without walls is a disgrace. Remember Nehemiah?
â€œThe words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, â€˜The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.â€™ So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.â€ (Nehemiah 1:1-4)
Nehemiah wept because he knew Jerusalem was in rubble and defenseless. It was a sad commentary on the remnant that they allowed the city to stay in such disrepair. We know the rest of the story with Nehemiah.
So what is Solomon saying to us about our spirit and what does it have to do with shame?
A man without rule over his own spirit is a man without self-control. A quick-tempered, fast talking man often brings calamity onto his life.
In an earlier Proverb Solomon show that a patient man is often unnoticed but is often more successful than the warrior:
â€œHe who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.â€ (Proverbs 16:32)
Last week we looked at having our worldview changed by allowing the Holy Spirit to renew our minds and that alone would have been sound biblical advice. However, Paul finishes Romans 12 with an interesting passage on Christian behavior that only comes from years of walking with the Lord. Remember, we are talking about Paul here:
â€œLet love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, â€˜Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,â€™ says the Lord. 20 Therefore â€˜If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.â€™ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.â€ (Romans 12:9-21)
Paul quotes Proverbs 25 in this passage which tells us to feed and give drink to our enemy which is obviously the opposite of what I want to do. And I usually donâ€™t care if my kindness will be like heaping coals of fire on his head; I want revenge!
Alas, I am like a city broken down, without walls because I have lost control of my temper, often turning to rage.
Such a poor example of Christlikeness; it is not even an example of Jesus. When Jesus got angry it was focused, controlled, and brought improvement.
So how do I learn to not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good?
I need to stay in the Word. I could diligently, as a minimum, take my own advice to others and read at least the five psalms and proverb for the day in my Bible. Who knows, my appetite may actually increase for the Bread of Heaven. (I know that it will)
For me to prepare the broken walls around my life, to replace the missing gate with a Heavenly Door, I need to be centered on Jesus.
â€œI am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.â€ (John 10:9-10)
I know I want the Abundant Life, a taste of heaven, if you will.
Question is: will I enter through the Door?
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Copyright Â© 2010 David Jeffers