At our weekly Men’s Bible Study, we have been diligently plowing through the book of Proverbs. I have come to really love this time. We eat, laugh, and catch up. Recently, one man shared a really hard relational struggle that he is involved in and another one lead in prayer to support and encourage him. It’s been a joy and a challenge to dig in to the wisdom of God in a group of guys and then do the hard work of how this applies to our lives today.
This week, we talked about Proverbs 16:32 – “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” We spent time thinking about how when we encounter temptation and stressful situations, there is always the option of tapping out and choosing to react in sin. We blow up in anger, we give in to lust, we speak harshly, we seek comfort in food…the list goes on. It’s all a sinful lack of self-control. We are called to “rule our spirit” not let our “spirit rule us.” How do we do this practically? We talked about a few things.
- Be regenerated. Accept God’s gracious offer of sin and restoration by repentance and faith in the gospel of Jesus. This provides you with a new heart and the Holy Spirit to feed and empower a self-controlled life. (Romans 6:4; Titus 2:11-12). Confess and repent of a sinful lack of self-control and receive forgiveness!
- Be renewed. Our hearts are wicked and sinful, and lie to us (Jeremiah 17:9) We need to inform our hearts with the truth of God’s word and let us renew us. (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:20-22). We need to be privately reading, meditating, memorizing Scripture. We need to be corporately hearing God’s word preached, attend Bible Studies, talk about Scripture together.
- Be regular. Seek to regularly practice the other means of grace that God provides us to know him and grow in him. (Ephesians 4:15; Hebrews 2:1; 10:23-25; Certainly perhaps the most important thing is regular intake of God’s word. But beyond that, be faithful in church attendance and service, pray regularly for self-control and a desire and growth in godliness. Read gospel-soaked books. Sing songs rich in Scripture. Find brothers and sisters who sharpen and challenge your walk.
In all of this, praise God that he holds us fast and has given us these resources (and more!) to grow and be blessed as we seek to be more like Him!