Broken Walls at my Feet and Burning Coals in my Lap

Bible Reading:
Control of Self Proverbs 5; 6:20-35; 7; 12:16; 14:16-17,29; 15:18; 16:32; 19:11,19; 20:1,25; 22:14,24-25; 23:19-21,26-35; 25:8,28; 29:3,8,11,20,22

On self-control:

"Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control" (25:38).

"A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control" (29:11).

In the Old Testament, the city's walls were its protection. When we lack self-control, we leave ourselves vulnerable to and unprotected from the attacks of the enemy, thus from destruction.

Lord, help me develop self-control by developing God-control. In my own strength, I can only put a temporary restraint on my anger and passion. As I allow your Spirit to flow through me, however, I find my weakness draining away and your strength filling me up. Teach me how to tap into the power of your Spirit. Replace my emotions and thoughts with your heart and mind. Help me rebuild my broken-down walls until Satan's attacks can no longer penetrate.


On temper and patience:

"A prudent man overlooks an insult" (12:16b).

"A patient man calms a quarrel" (15:18b).

"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense" (19:11)

"Wise men turn away anger" (29:8b).

Lord, help me control my temper and have patience with my family. Though I'm not typically quick-tempered, in certain situations I exhibit anger instead of patience. Continue to make me sensitive to this weakness and give me the ability and patience to "overlook" insults and offenses, "calm quarrels", and "turn away anger".


On adultery:

"Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?" (6:20-29).

This isn't just a passive action. The coals didn't get thrown into his lap; he didn't fall into the fire. The man deliberately scooped the fire into his lap; he deliberately chose to walk on the hot coals with his bare feet. First, he stared at the coals for a while and was mesmerized by the beautiful, orange glow and felt the comfort of their warmth. If we gaze at the lure of sin too long, we are eventually faced with making a choice - to walk/run away from the fire, or to scoop the coals into our lap. Ouch!

Lord, help me develop the discipline of turning away from temptation before it hypnotizes me. Teach me to associate sin with the pain of being burned, not with the fascination and allure of the flame.