“I can’t help it.” Ever said that one, former procrastinators?
Does God buy that? “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28: ESV
God intends for us to exercise self-control – to submit ourselves to His Holy Spirit’s guidance and power. The Holy Spirit himself enables us to do that. We’ve looked at Nehemiah’s example of self-control, his faithfulness to persevere in rebuilding the wall – keeping focus, not being distracted or diverted by the efforts of his enemies. He kept his attention on the wall.
Now let’s look at another aspect of wall building. God refers to walls themselves as good for us. Nehemiah’s wall was a defense. It represented strength and protection. It kept out marauders, military enemies, and wild animals. It emphasized that God dwelt in the city of Jerusalem.
Do you feel plundered? Run over? Out of control?
Appropriate walls are an example of godly self-control. God’s intention (and His equipping for us) is that we establish boundaries and safeguards in our lives that enable us to carry out His direction. We must respect those boundaries and help others respect them so we’re not distracted and diverted from what God has called us to do within the walls. (“No. I have a commitment at that time.”) When the walls come down, life within is plundered.
There will always be resistance to our God-directed priorities. We pay attention to the state of our walls so that we protect our priorities. The wall itself becomes a priority. Part of self-control is maintaining our walls and giving attention to the priorities within the walls.
Moms of babies learn the importance of protecting naptime. Other examples of walls that enable life within:
- Doing what needs doing when it needs doing (Procrastination is a wall destroyer.)
- Having devotions before computer time
- Limiting extra curriculars to preserve family dinner
- Establishing bedtime to ensure needed rest for the next day
- Getting up when the alarm goes off
- Walking with a partner
- Setting minutes allowed for screen time and when
- Filling the gas tank when it reaches half empty
- Putting a freeze on spending when funds are low
- Showing patience when colleagues are trying
- Using a soft tone when others are testy
We can use mini habits and routine to build walls that enable us to focus on priorities. We can exercise self-control and not fall prey to “I can’t help it” mentality that pulls down our walls and tramples priorities.
Don’t we have to flex? Certainly. But be alert that repeated flexing pulls down walls. The Holy Spirit gives discernment regarding what is a “divine diversion” from Him. Usually the challenge is to hold steady on the priority He’s already given.
Nehemiah rebuilt the wall for the sake of life inside it. He rebuilt it because it was a safeguard. He rebuilt it to glorify God.
What wall can you set up today that will protect your God-directed priorities?