- Self-control - Prov. 25:28; 29:11
- Rashness - Prov. 20:25; 21:5; 25:8; 29:20
- Temper and Patience - Prov. 12:16; 14:16-17; 14:29; 15:18; 16:32; 19:11, 19; 22:24-25; 29:8, 22
- Drunkenness and gluttony - Prov. 20:1; 23:19-21, 29-35
- Adultery - Prov. 5:1-23; 6:20-35; 7:1-27; 22:14
- Prostitution - Prov. 23:26-28; 29:3
There are countless critically-important teachings contained within these readings. Considering that the target audience of these devotionals includes young children, today's devotional is on the importance of self-control. Specifically, we want to reflect upon being patient and controlling our temper. Being patient and controlling our temper are among the most difficult life lessons to learn. These subjects require diligent work and focus over your entire lifetime. Even older people with years of life experience struggle with controlling their temper and remaining patient.
As humans, our flesh is weak. GOD has designed our body so that it has certain desires, such as to eat when we feel our stomach growl. These desires can be very, very strong! Our body tells us how we need to respond. But GOD has also given us a brain that can understand, reason, and think, and He expects us to use our brain to know when it is okay to fulfill our body's desires and when it is not. In other words, we are designed so that our brain tells our body what to do, and not the other way around.
There's just one problem with this: without help our brain doesn't have the ability to know what the right thing is for us to do! The prophet Jeremiah said to GOD, "O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps." (Jer. 10:23) But praise be to GOD that He loves us so much that He provides us the answer to our problem. He has written His thoughts about how we are to live in His book, the Bible. But if we are going to find out what GOD thinks about something, we have to search for it within His word. This takes effort on our part. But the result is well worth the effort it takes.
When it comes to patience and our temper, the problem is that, in many situations, it takes only a second to respond or retaliate to whatever happens. We act before we think. A major key to being patient and cool-tempered is to force ourselves to slow down, pause, think about what the right action might be, pray about it, and then act. This requires constant effort to maintain this level of awareness, and every person slips up from time to time in moments of weakness, and gets themselves in trouble by acting before thinking.
2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.
(Jam. 3:2-6 NKJV)
Consider a few proverbs:
- Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.
(Prov. 25:28 NIV)
- Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them.
(Prov. 29:20 NIV)
- Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.
(Prov. 12:16 NIV)
- A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.
(Prov. 15:18 NIV)
- A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
(Prov. 19:11 NIV)
- A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again.
(Prov. 19:19 NIV)
Consider the wisdom of GOD: commit yourself to becoming the wise man who controls his temper and is patient. Don't be a fool.