Protecting the City

Aug 26, 2016

Photo by Ingo Mehling

Photo by Ingo Mehling

“A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.”


We don’t see many cities in America with walls. That is not a common architectural feature today. Cities, however, used to be built with large, thick walls around them to keep the bad guys out and the good guys safe within. The large gate could be opened and closed to limit access to the city. In Brazil, where my wife and I are working, almost every house and every apartment complex are surrounded by a high wall with pointy things or an electric wire on top.


This proverb presents an interesting word picture by putting the character quality of self-control on the same level as the protective wall around a city. It actually makes a lot of sense if you stop and think about it, though. Have you ever seen a co-worker commit career suicide because they could not keep their mouth closed? Or maybe you had a family member that got arrested every few years because they just could not control their drinking or their temper.

I saw it over and over again in my law enforcement career. I probably would not have had a job if people could just exercise self-control. The angry husband who hit his wife, the lady who had one too many drinks at dinner and is now going to try and drive home, the teenage girl who just had to have that expensive shirt and shoplifted it are just a few examples of how a lack of self-control can destroy people.

Self-control is one of those qualities that will make us successful in life. As parents, this must be one of the main things that we try to instill in our children from a young age. They may not enjoy it at the time but they will thank us for it later. As adults, we never get past the need to stay disciplined and self-controlled in our lives. How many marriages have been destroyed, careers flushed down the toilets, and lives ended early because of a lack of self-control?

By developing the quality of self-control in our lives, we are raising a wall of protection around ourselves. By teaching our children how to control themselves, we are helping to build that wall around them. Self-control will help all of us in every area of life.

David and Annie are serving the Lord in Brazil. They are training leaders and helping plant churches. Would you consider joining their team? Just click here to get involved. Obrigado!

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