Prov 25:28 “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.”
What is self-control? We talk about self-control when it comes to eating. I love to eat junk food. We had a party yesterday for my birthday. Robin made carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. One of my favorite desserts. I ate so much that I regretted it later. I was not exercising very much self-control.
While controlling myself in how much I eat will have it’s effect, there are other areas of self control that affect much more than just my waste line. James 3:4-5 says “The tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.”
In Luke 6:43-45 Jesus said, “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, (44) for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. (45) The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
How well do you know your heart? Yesterday we looked at some verses that reminded us the importance of guarding our heart. In Ken Sande’s relational wisdom he describes this as being self aware and self engaging;
- Self-Awareness (humility) is the ability to honestly discern your own emotions, interests, values, strengths and weaknesses. (1 Peter 5:5; Ps. 139:23-24; James 4:1-3; Mark 7:21-23; 2 Tim. 2:22)
- Self-Engagement (discipline) is the ability to manage your thoughts, emotions, words and actions so that they advance God’s purposes. (Gal. 5:22-23; Matt. 16:24-25; John 8:29; Titus 2:11-12)
How self-aware are you? What motivates your emotions, interests and values? How well are you able to manage your thoughts, emotions, words and actions? And how do you engage with others?
God has designed us for relationship. How we relate to and treat others does one of two things. It either displays what a relationship with God can be like and draws people to him in an attractive way (Titus 2:10 NLT) , or it shows them something they don’t want to have anything to do with. So, which describes the affects of your words most often?
In Proverbs 25 Solomon gives a few examples of both.
- Prov 25:18 telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax or wounding them with a sword
- Prov 25:23 as surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!
In contrast, how we relate to others can be a beautiful way to display what God is like… causing them to be attracted to what they see (Titus 2:10 )
- Prov 25:11 timely advice is lovely like golden apples in a silver basket.
- Prov 25:12 to one who listens, valid criticism is like gold earring or other gold jewelry
- Prov 25:15 patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones
- Prov 25:25 good news from far away is like cold water to the thirsty.
- What comes out of my mouth is a direct result of what is in my heart. If my heart is full of Christ, godliness will come out. If I fill my heart with something else (things other than God, therefore God-less), God-lessness will come out.
- God wants my attitudes, words and actions to reflect him in such a way that others are attracted to him because of what they see in me. God, reveal to me anything that is less than attractive, so I can improve on that.
- The more self-aware I am, the more I can manage my thoughts, attitudes and actions (self-engagement) and make them obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5) the more attractive Jesus in me will be.