So I’m back at work now.
Okay. Maybe slightly yes than “yay”. It’s kinda quiet here but not as quiet as you might expect. I’m covering phones and will take the afternoon campus mail run. Just as well, as I’m pretty brain dead from the 14.5 hour door-to-door trek from Wisconsin to Washington yesterday.
I’ve struggled with my attitude lately, keeping it good. Not just because we got stuck in rush-hour-plus accident-backup-traffic on the way home from SEA-TAC. I’m reminded of this scripture: A person without self control is like a city broken with broken-down walls. – Proverbs 25:28 NLT
Self-control sounds a bit tame.
Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls. – NKJV
I learned it the New King James way. In ancient times, cities had walls for protection. They were often thick enough to allow apartment-type homes to be carved into them. Literally, you lived in a hole in the wall.
Walls don’t have a great connotation in our culture. Walls, to Americans, generally mean we’re kept out of something or away from someone. Jails have walls to keep convicts in. That’s their punishment, separated from society. Think of Trump’s great wall. It’s not to protect us, necessarily; it’s to keep illegal aliens out. It probably won’t provide much in the way of protection.
Walls kept cities safe. Think of the Great Wall of China, built to keep out those marauding Mongols and hungry Huns (think Attila). In this case, the Chinese emperor tried to keep his people safe and his kingdom intact. Think of the wall of Jericho, so high and impenetrable, it intimidated the Israelite army. Only God had the power to knock it down (Joshua 6).
The “city without walls” meant no protection. No safety, no peace. The idea is that at any time, a hostile force could infiltrate and take over the city. Nobody would be watching from the city gates, so no early warning system or call to arms. Enemies would march down the street, celebrating an easy victory. People living in places without walls would probably feel uneasy and on guard. Maybe they developed a suspicious , alert nature as a default. Maybe they carried concealed knives as a precautionary measure. I can only speculate.
In this proverb, self-control or ruling your spirit saves others. You’re not a living, breathing time bomb. Your wrath doesn’t lash out like a sudden whip, leaving a red welt on their psyche. Angry words can wound deeply. If you’re in charge of your actions and attitudes, you also take responsibility when you mess up. You apologize. You make restitution somehow. In other words, you act with maturity.
Ruling your spirit protects you as well. You could incur a beat-down from someone much larger and stronger than you. You could endure great public humiliation because of your wayward mouth or aggressive, ahem, touching. When you exhibit self-control, you sail through controversy with your dignity and nose intact.
Of course, this will cost you something. You won’t get to “blow off steam” at someone who cuts you off on the highway. You’ll probably experience some stinging injustices. Your middle finger will atrophy from lack of use. You might get called wimpy, wussy or downright cowardly.
No matter. Because at the end of the day, it’s what God thinks that matters. He provides justice, when and if we need it. I’m learning, day by day, to rule my own spirit. I’m not there yet. Baby steps. Ultimately, acting with maturity reflects our Creator and brings glory to Jesus. Isn’t that the important thing?