August 22, 1993, AM
I believe this verse has a direct link to Gen 34 where Levi and Simeon digged down a wall of a city in their anger. They inherited the wrath of God, Gen. 49:6.
There are at least 7 implications in this verse:
First, the spirit of Pro 16:32 could refer to more than just the uncontrolled spirit of wrath. It also refers to the spirit of:
A. pride, Mk ch 7 (v. 21). The Lord clearly tells us that evil proceeds from the inside out, not from the outside in.
The Aug mailing dealt with FALSE LOVE. It is a message I preached here some time ago in which we point out that it is Biblically impossible to love a person while hating his evil deeds.
Thus, a person habitually does evil deeds because he is an evil person. A person is defiled because his fallen, defiled, evil spirit rules him instead of him ruling his spirit.
B. lust, James 1:14, But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Sin is the natural result of the spirit not being ruled properly. The end result of the unruled spirit is an early death.
James 4:1, 2, From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. The inner fighting, the interpersonal fighting and fighting on the national scale (wars) is a direct result of the spirit of man being out of control.
C. depression and worry are direct results of the spirit ruling over the individual. The individual is unable to turn his thoughts away from things which are contrary to the word of God, Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.
1 Cor 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. Paul talks about any and all members of the body. Though we do not normally think of our spirit as a member of our body, James tells us that it is such a part of our body that we would be dead without it, 2:26.
The most dangerous adversary we have is our own heart. Not only does the word of God warn what will happen if our spirit rules over us, but it also commands us to rule over our spirit.
Second, though the battle is within and unknown to others, it is real and continual. 1 Co 10:13, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man... The enemy is within every living person: his own fallen spirit.
Obviously, the wild, unbroken spirit which desires to go its own way is a common infirmity with mankind.
2 Cor 10:4 & 5, (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; The basic Christian battle is controlling the spirit. Paul compares the control of the spirit to taring down a strong stone wall that is protecting a city of his day.
That strong wall is not destroyed all at once:
it has many defenders (it seems that when one is defeated, two more rush in to replace him)
it is high and lifted up; therefore, requires supernatural power to tear it down
it cannot be destroyed all at once, but must be destroyed one hard stone at a time. One area at a time must be conquored.
The tool provided by the Lord to bring down this wall is the word of God. A great many lies make up this wall; therefore, we destroy it one block at a time by applying the truth from God's word to one lie at a time.
Pro 25:28 He that [hath] no rule over his own spirit [is like] a city [that is] broken down, [and] without walls. The wise man compares the battle against the fallen spirit to defending a city against the continual attack from a relentless enemy. In fact, whether it is taking a city or defending a city, it is child's play compared to conquering the spirit. This battle is the "Mother of all Battles." If it is lost, all is lost.
A. mankind's battle is a spiritual battle which starts within himself, against himself. Eph 6:12, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. We wrestle continually, not with flesh and blood, but with spiritual wickedness exalted within even our own spirit. The Christian warfare is won or lost without a shot ever being fired or a blow exchanges.
B. Mat 7:3-5 (Luke 6:41), those with an uncontrollable spirit in one area cannot condemn others for being uncontrolled in other areas. How can we see to pull the small speck out of another's eye when we have a large beam of the uncontrolled spirit in our own?
Although we are ruled by men who are ruled by their vain passions, we cannot lay the blame for society's ills upon them. If the average person cannot control his own spirit and passions, then how can he expect those in authority to control their passions?
C. indulgence to one's spirit allows the fallen nature to rule over him. Thus the person captive to his own spirit is not a conquer but conquered. If he is conquered by his own spirit, how can he complain when he is conquered by outside forces? In fact, the next logical step after being conquered by one's fallen spirit is being conquered by a fallen physical enemy.
Thus there can be no freedom apart from personal freedom from one's own fallen spirit. Outward freedom is a result of inward freedom; national freedom starts with individual freedom from personal passions. National slavery is God's judgment against individual slavery to the uncontrolled spirit.
D. there is no rest from this battle, Ec 8:8 [There is] no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither [hath he] power in the day of death: and [there is] no discharge in [that] war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it. In other words, only righteousness will deliver those who desire victory in this battle.
If one lets down his guard for a moment, he is defeated. The spiritual armour must be put on and never laid down: no quarter can be given, no truce allowed, no compromise made or wounds will be inflicted, and ultimately, the battle lost.
Moreover, this enemy will not be completely conquered; he returns from the dead no matter what is done to him. He will not be left dead on the battlefield; he will be with us until we leave the scene.
E. if this battle is not fought, won and the victory retained, we will be a slave to the hardest of task-masters, our own spirit. How can we complain when others rule over us with rigor if we allow our own spirit to rule over us?
Third, the world exalts the mighty who is able to conquer a strong physical enemy; the Lord exalts the mighty who is able to conquer his own spirit. Governing people or "taking a city is child's play compared to conquering the spirit."
Czar Peter said, I can govern my people, but how can I govern myself? (Proverbs, Charles Bridges, The Banner of Truth Trust, p. 251.)
Forth, James tells us that the spirit of man is revealed by the tongue; the tongue will speak what is in the spirit. The tongue can only be tamed from the heart. The heart is only tamed when the spirit of man is yieded to the the Spirit of God.
Fifth, the uncontrolled spirit has God as its enemy.
(I dread being around people who seem to be on the edge of uncontrolled anger.)
Sixth, the quality of self-control, or ruling one's spirit, is one of the most important qualifications for any type of leadership in the Kingdom of God. (Cf. Ex 18:21 (Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place [such] over them, [to be] rulers of thousands, [and] rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:); 1 Tim 3:1ff & Tit 1:5ff.)
Seventh and finally, Victory is assured to those who want victory.
We must not forget the second part of 1 Cor 10:13: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]. Though the common enemy of mankind is exceedingly strong, victory over him is assured.
The method of Christian conquest is always the same in every area: self-control and discipline through the power and grace of God. Just as one gives up smoking or drunkenness through Spirit-controled discipline, so one conquers the enemy of his own spirit.
The word of God gives us the method of victory. Because this is a spiritual war and the battle is won or lost within, there are some basic things that must be done.
1. 1 Cor 10:6, Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Consistent time in the word of God.
2. Phip 4:6, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 1 Pe 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Consistent time in the prayer-closet.
3. Gal 5:16, [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Disciplined, consistent in our walk, eg. eyes controled, appetites controled...
Conclusion is in bulletin:
The enemy may have been stabbed at the heart; yet will he get up, and renew the fight. Thou must walk - yea- sleep - in thine armour. It must be worn, not laid up. There is "no discharge from this war," till the body of sin and death is laid in the grave. Meanwhile victory is declared, before the conflict begins. Let every day then be a day of triumph. The promises are to present victory. With such stirring, stimulating hopes, thou shalt surely have rule, if thou wilt but dare to have it. And if thou hast not courage enough to be a Christian, thou must be a slave for life to the hardest of task-masters. This bloodless victory, so contrary to the turmoil of war (Isa ix. 5), is the crown of Christian grace. (Rom xii. 19.) No other grace of the gospel can be exercised without its influence. Yet the daily conquest anticipates the final victory, the spoils of which will be reaped throughout eternity. (Proverbs, Charles Bridges, The Banner of Truth Trust, p. 251, 2.)
Our source of victory: Rom 8:37, Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Our promised reward for victory in the spiritual warfare: Re 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Are we overcomes or have we been overcome?