A Broken Wall – Gospel in Life

A Broken Wall

Tim Keller |  November 28, 2004

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  • God the Father
Proverbs 18:10; 23:19-21; 25:28; Titus 2:11-14
RS 178-12


The book of Proverbs is one of the best places to learn about the topic of wisdom. The book teaches us that a wise person has certain characteristics and qualities. In order to be wise, you need to become a certain type of person. The book does not talk nearly so much about how to make the right decisions but it teaches us how to become the kind of person who makes the right decisions.

Today, we come to self-control. A man or a woman without self-control is not going to live a wise life and will inevitably mess up their lives, along with the lives of people around them. What do we learn from the passages in Proverbs about self-control? There are at least three things: the problem of self-control; the principle of self-control; and the practice of self-control.

Proverbs 18:10; 23:19–21; 25:28; Titus 2:11–14

In the book of Proverbs, wisdom is closely connected with self-control. If we want to live wisely, we need to make decisions that show self-control. Without it, we could end up in trouble. Let’s take a closer look at the issue, the main idea, and the application of self-control in Proverbs.

1. The problem of self-control

Proverbs 23:19-21 warns us about the dangers of having no self-control, such as living in poverty because of overdoing things. Self-control is like the walls of a city, keeping out the chaos. It helps us to focus on what’s really important, not just what’s urgent. Lack of self-control can show up as addictions or not being able to concentrate, and even small slips can cause big messes.

2. The principle of self-control

Self-control is all about seeking true security, and not getting caught up in the trap of materialistic desires, which can lead to addictive habits. Anything can become an addiction if it takes the place of God and can lead us into a destructive cycle of unhappiness. The solution to self-control is to understand the truth about who God is, to love Him deeply, and to stay faithful during hard times. Love and prayer are the main motivators in this process.

3. The practice of self-control

God’s grace, as shown in the New Testament, teaches us to live good and godly lives. We do this not out of fear or punishment, but because we understand God’s mercy. This grace, shown through Jesus Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection, invites us into God’s safe and loving arms. When we understand this truth, our hearts are changed, and we gain the power to live lives marked by self-control.



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