Today’s Reading: Proverbs 5:1-1 & 21-23; 6:20-7:27;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; 29:2-3 & 8 & 11 & 20 & 22;
The title of Control of Self makes me stop in my tracks. I know that this is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in us, but I also suspect that maybe it comes last in the list because it is the hardest for the Holy Spirit to develop in me! But Proverbs tells me that without it, I am like a city without walls – how vulnerable I am without it!
And another thing which comes out of lack of self-control is rashness! And a man who speaks rashly, it tells me is worse than a fool! So I feel the need to examine myself and to endeavour to be careful when talking!
Another thing which indicates lack of self-control is lack of patience or anger or temper. I feel that when I discover lack of patience with others and myself and find myself so easily angered by others, then I often tell myself, that this is the signal that I am in trouble and need to seek the calm of His presence in reading my Bible and to spend more time in quiet prayer with my loving Father. Which verse in this section seemed to speak to your heart, either in warning or in encouraging you to value the ability to be patient?
Certainly there is a lot of abuse in drinking to excess in our world today, but if like me, you don’t seem to have been bothered by this, maybe you struggle like me, with eating, perhaps more than I should, and need His help to care properly for my body, which is a gift from God and Scripture calls it the Temple of God! How dare I misuse this great gift from my loving Father, especially because He has given me a body which suffers very little from sicknesses!
But if there is one area of life, that this world has gone totally wrong in, it would be in the sexual area of life. So I am interested to see how many verses are devoted by God to this problem – certainly far more than any other section in today’s reading. At first, I am puzzled at the strong language i.e. “her steps lead straight to the grave”! And then I notice what seems to me to be the pleading of a loving father’s earnestness to his sons “not to go near the door of her house”! and then the anguish of someone who has ignored advice to avoid this. And as I look about the world today, I see the enormous devastation on personal lives and their families, where this sin has not been avoided. But then I remember the verses in 1 Corinthians which set this sin in a class all of its own – “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” And then follows a very detailed story of a young man (in this case, but could be a woman) who did not follow Solomon’s advice and my heart is sad as I remember the next verse in 1 Corinthians, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you…?” As we are surrounded by a world which has gone crazy over sex, maybe it’s not so surprising that Solomon uses a whole chapter to talk about this topic, in telling the sad story, “of someone lost forever, because of foolishness to wander into this sin? I have noticed that dabbling in this sin, has serious consequences which can sometimes last a life-time, maybe because God meant it to be one of the greatest gifts of natural life – the closest relationship, meant to have the closest precious intimacy of life. I also suspect why this sin is in a class of its own, is because it has a spiritual dynamitic to it! And I am left wondering if I try to be so very careful in this area of life, with the serious vigilance that Scriptures urgent me to maintain. Am I careful to avoid all visual temptations which abound on every side in life, and if married, totally committed to the enjoyment of only my own marriage relationship, which God has gifted to me. And I often wonder, if my own family which God has given me, desire to have the same “totally committed, unselfish and loving in every way” relationship in future life with the someone God has for them. But I am also painfully aware that they observe my life from the closest and clearest vantage point, watching my daily marriage life!