-Rev. Joanne Walker Flowers, PhD-
A person without self-control is like a breached city,
one with no walls.
Proverbs 25:28 CEB
I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky which sits on the Ohio River. Back in 1937 there was a devastating flood known as “The Great Flood.” In response to this widespread devastation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built a network of earthen levees and concrete walls to protect the city from future flooding of this magnitude. This flood wall runs through neighborhoods, parks, and across streets where the wall is open permitting traffic through. However, there are closures or gates available to seal the wall if there is the risk of flooding.
The water of the river never rose high enough for me to see the gates moved into place as a child and I thought it never would. It was difficult to believe the water could ever get that high. But in 1997, when the city experienced flooding it hadn’t been seen for 60 years, the gates were moved into place and with the wall intact, the city was protected.
The flood wall protected Louisville from the damaging flooding. Similarly, the walls constructed around cities in antiquity protected those cities and prevented enemies from entering. “More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23) Self-control is how we protect our heart and mind. It is our wall.
It is not a coincidence self-control is the last fruit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 because self-control affects our ability to walk in all of the fruit of the Spirit, i.e., love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. When we are in control of our actions and reactions; when we limit who and what we allow into our lives; when we keep our minds on things above, we have grown to the point we can bear fruit.
Dear Lord, help me to control of my emotions, thoughts and actions through the power of your Holy Spirit. I desire to be what you want me to be. Only you know where I am most vulnerable and though I am weak, in Christ I am strong. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Joanne Walker Flowers is ordained clergy in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with a ministry of health and healing.