Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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February 26 – Self-Control

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”  Proverbs 25:28

Devotional Thought For The Day

This reminds me of a statement from the movie “The Godfather.”  The Don comments:  “Men can’t afford to be careless.”  Of course, the context of this statement is dark, and its application in the life of career criminals is obviously mixed.  However, the principle is on target – that men have responsibilities to others [wife, children, boss, family, friends] and to themselves, and much becomes vulnerable and subject to loss when they are careless.  The lack of self-control is carelessness – and we have all seen examples of this and sadly observed the havoc that has ensued. Obviously the same is true for women – who perhaps are granted a little more slack, but cannot always be protected from impulsiveness or indiscretion.

Our sinful nature often compels us toward behaviors and inner “being” that are destructive of others and self-destructive.  Hence, the concept of “the seven deadly sins” –  wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.  All of these militate against “self-control” and are destructive and degrading of human “being,” our own being and that of others.  Likewise, without self-control all of these sinful impulses lead to great vulnerability – inviting into our life a host of other evils which will rape and pillage the truly good things about life, including the people who are closest to us and who depend upon us. So self-control is like the walls of our city, the thing that protects what is most valuable to us – and hopefully that is the relationships that we have with others, spouse, children, family, employer, friends, and our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Such self-control, in view of the power and pervasiveness of our sinful nature, will always “feel” restrictive, limiting, dull, boring, unexciting, and even suffocating.  However, our safety and that of our loved ones depends upon us exercising such self-control.

Even when we have lost self-control and have capitulated into all manner of sin and destructive evil, God’s forgiveness remains sure and certain.  “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” [1 John 1:7]  Yes, this means repentance, honestly acknowledging the evil we have engaged in, sorrow for the damage we have caused, and humble plea to God for mercy and forgiveness.  But God’s Word is quite clear and forceful about this, that “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” [Is. 1:18]  This is God’s promise in Christ Jesus:  “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” [Jer. 31:34]  So even in the midst of great losses and heartache, and guilt over our lack of self-control, the consolation of God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love remains available to all of us.

It is very difficult, however, when sitting alone in the midst of such devastation and desolation, and understanding that it was all caused by our own lack of self-control, to maintain our faith and trust in God’s gracious forgiveness, mercy, and love.  This too is a great evil that comes in on the heels of our failure to exercise self-control.  Only God can preserve and keep us in faith at such times – only by the power of His Word and the grace of His Spirit.  We must remember that this is His will, that He does not desire the death of the wicked, but that all men should be saved. [Ezek. 33:11; 1 Tim. 2:4]  So we must focus on His Word and heed His Spirit, lest the evil one lead us into even greater evil and self-destruction.  Obviously it is better to have self-control, and to work hard at growing in self-control, rather than to have to face these dark and dangerous circumstances.  Hence the wisdom of this proverb, and God’s loving purpose in warning us and urging us to remember that we cannot afford to be careless when it comes to sin.  However, God is always with us to remind us of the guarantee of His Word, that “where sin abounded, there grace abounded all the more.” [Rom. 5:20]

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, each day You know the treacherous temptations that come our way, and the evil impulses of our sinful hearts.  Help us to grow in self-control and to remain vigilant and awake against the plots and snares of the devil.  We know too Your promise to be with us always, even when we have fallen and caused destruction.  Keep us firm in faith in Your love at all times, so that we continuously cast ourselves upon You in repentance and faith, and by Your grace overcome all temptations to despair.  Amen.