Another translation of this proverb goes like this:
“He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a broken down city without a wall.”
The basic premise is that self-control or the ability to rule one’s own spirit is what a wall is to a city. Without a wall, a city is indefensible. Without a wall, a city is ripe and ready for invasion. Without a wall, the inhabitants of the city have no security or hope to defend themselves. Without a wall, a city is doomed for destruction.
It’s interesting that self-control, one of the nine fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22 is likened to a defensive weapon. Like the shield of faith listed in Ephesians 6:16, its purpose is to provide a defense against the attacks certain to come from the enemy. Without it, we have nothing with which to defend ourselves from the coming onslaught.
The ability to rule our own spirit is a direct result or fruit of the Holy Spirit. And if you have the Holy Ghost, God has given you this ability!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23
I remember seeing a clip from the comedian Chris Rock. He was talking about men and their inability to combat temptation saying, “A Man is as faithful as his options!” His premise (and it is many times true) is that men have no self-control or ability to resist temptation, so if and when it comes, they fall. That’s the picture of a person without self-control or of a city without walls. Having no defense, a city without walls (or a person without self-control) is just sitting there waiting for an invasion, biding their time before being overthrown. That’s not the Christian life and that is no way to live.
Think about it: what areas do you lack self-control in? What areas are you like a broken down city without walls? What areas are ripe for invasion? Whatever they are, press into the Holy Ghost and working together with Him, rebuild your walls!
Dumb people wait to be overthrown. Wise people fortify their position.