A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls. Proverbs 25:28 (NLT)
Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)
Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls. Proverbs 25:28 (NKJV)
Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has not control over his spirit. Proverbs 25:28 (NASB)
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls. Proverbs 25:28 (KJV)
- NIV says, self-control.
- NKJV says rule over.
- NKJV and NASB says control over.
- KJV says rule over.
These underlined words come from the word matsar in the original Hebrew language. The word matsar is a noun meaning restraint or control. This is the only time this word is used in the Old Testament.
The author of this wisdom statement uses a metaphor to compare the person who is without self-control. He compared the person to a city broken down and without walls.
Today and in the United States, we don’t have cities with walls; however, that would have been a common reality and understanding in the day and world these words were written.
Then, walls protected a city. Walls kept in those who belonged and kept out those who did not belong. Walls represented security for those within them. Someone who lived in a city with walls could go to sleep at night and rest assured of their safety.
Remember the story of the walls of Jericho and how the Israelites took the city the minute the walls came down. Remember Nehemiah’s burden to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem after it’s destruction. Jerusalem could never be restored until the wall was rebuilt.
A city without walls represents a place where anything and anyone is free to roam, to bring in, to leave, to take, to damage, or maybe even destroy, anything they choose.
Without Self-control We are Unprotected
The comparison tells the reader of this proverb that a person without self-control about the unsafe environment within himself or herself. Self-control acts a barrier from the unwanted, from the enemy of our soul, from bad things that invade, and from a thief who takes what belongs to us.
So in other words we have access to a built-in wall that protects us. We decide if and when we want our wall erected. The wall is in our control. We can always have our wall up rather than decide to let our wall down. Self-control raises the wall; yet, a life without self-control, lowers our wall.
To say, “I have no self-control” is not a good statement because it’s not a true statement. Everyone has it because self-control is a decision. We choose either to walk in it or not.
Self-control is not always easy and it is sometimes quite painful because self-control over rules our dominating fleshly desires.
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh;
and these are contrary to one another,
so that you do not do the things that you wish.
I used the word dominating above because those fleshly desires are dominating until we have ruled over them for a while. However, when we exercise self-control long enough, self-control becomes dominant and the fleshly desires are more easily ruled over.
The point of the proverb and my desired result of this blog is that you know the value of self-control, that you know you have self-control, and that you desire to live a life with self-control.
Here is a prayer for you regarding self-control.
Dear Heavenly Daddy,
Sometimes I feel like I have no self-control in certain areas of my life. Help me with that. Help me to access the power of Your Holy Spirit living on the inside of me when I feel like I am without self-control. I desire to live life overruling my fleshly desires because I see the damage living without self-control can bring to my life. Help me. Empower me and show me the way, in Jesus name. Amen!