Overcoming the Grinch Over the Holidays
Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you spent a wonderful time with family and friends.
Recently, a friend showed me a video clip of what happens on Black Friday in the USA. I saw two men assault each other over a TV set; people being trample by a horde of crazed shoppers; and a young man stealing from an old lady. It seemed that the consuming masses lost all senses and possessed no control over their actions. I was sickened, and my friend (a US citizen) was visibility embarrassed.
“Like a city that is broken into and without walls
Is a man who has no control over his spirit.”
Very similar to being self-controlled, in that a person is in complete control of his/her emotions and actions. However, the Hebrew word [מַעְצָר, pronounced ‘mah-tsawr’] correctly translated into English would be ‘rule’. This implies more than the normal understanding of what self-control is – expanding it into having mastery over one’s self. Implying, if you don’t rule yourself; then something else rules over you.
This means the rational mind, that has clear senses (not being blocked or skewed by ones intentions and false teachings); controlled affections (i.e. mastery of one’s desires); and tempered emotions. The same Hebrew word [רוּחַ, pronounced ‘roo’-akh’]; is used to describe the Spirit of God, man’s sprit, breath, and the wind.
What Does it Mean?
Today’s cities are not like those of old – in that ancient cities were surrounded by walls. A city’s walls provide the first and last line of defence to its populace. When the walls of a city were breached, then the city had fallen and its inhabitants captured. Any person who has not mastered their will, desires, and emotions is like a city with breached walls – ready to fall.
Everyone has buttons that easily sets them off when pushed. Turning a blind eye to weaknesses and shortcomings allows cracks to develop. Cracks that can be exploited or cause you to stumble – both will lead to your downfall. Only complete mastery of the spirit (mind and heart), by exercising self-control in every aspect of life, brings security to one’s steps.
So what does a self-controlled person look like? To put it frankly – not like a Black Friday shopper. Selfishness rules them; however, a ruler of one’s desires practices selflessness. The crazed shopper is prone to violent anger. In contrast, a master of one’s emotions is skilled in promoting peace and the art of defusing violence. Knowing when and how to act requires skill in being in control of your self. Let you be the ruler of yourself, not another.
How to Follow Along
There are thirty-one (31) chapters within the book of Proverbs. And there are usually between 30 to 31 days within a given month. Simply read one chapter a day, and then study one verse from that chapter. Use commentaries to get insight into the cultural, historical, and spiritual context of the verse. You may even want to go into the meaning of the individual Hebrew and Greek words. A good free resource to use is e-Sword.