Self-control (Prov 25:28)

I took this photo in Germany, 2000, at Heidelberg Castle. We don’t have castles in Australia, so I was like a kid at Christmas whenever I saw one during my travels! Many European cities still boast enormous stone ramparts — remnants of centuries past, when city walls were used as a defense against invading armies.

We don’t rely on city walls for protection anymore, as the nature of warfare has changed. But we all understand the basics of security: locking the front door at home is something most of us do, out of habit, each day!

When I was at uni (college), some other students and I rented a house together. I remember the panic and irritation when one of my new housemates kept leaving the front door wide open, after walking out the door in the mornings. We’d previously had a break-in, so this was not the wisest move!

I spat the dummy one day (lost my temper, childishly) and the culprit’s response left me gobsmacked: a shrug and a smug smile, “Well, no-one broke in today.” 😳

In recent years, I’ve tried many times to set limits on my social media usage. It always works for a while, but my mindless-scrolling habits inevitably return.

Looking back, my attempts at becoming more self-controlled have failed more often than not. So, looking forward, it’s really tempting to shrug my shoulders in resignation, figuring I just don’t have the right sort of personality for self-discipline.

But when I do this, aren’t I being just like my old housemate? How unwise to shrug my shoulders, as if to say, “Hey, it’s not such a big deal”!

Just as it’s our responsibility to lock the front door, to guard our family and belongings, it’s also our responsibility to guard the things in life that are most important: (1) our relationship with God, and (2) our connections to the people God has put right in front of us, in our homes, workplaces and neighbourhoods.

Lord, thank you for the gift of grace: you accept us despite our inadequacies. We want to nurture our relationship with you. We want to love those around us better. Help us move towards maturity in Christ by developing self-control. Amen.

Photo ©️ Fruitful Today

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