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TITLE: Panels of Cedar
By Miriam Basye-Carter

Just a short Bible study on the idea of self control. I hope it makes sense. Thanks for reading it.
We, as Christians have heard a lot about having self control. Self control is essential to a Christian lifestyle. We must learn to control our tempers, our tongues, our appetite, our desires etc.

However, this morning as I spent time with the Lord, I read a verse in Proverbs and the Lord shed a whole new light on the subject of self control for me:

Proverbs 25:28 “Like a city who’s walls are broken down, is a man who lacks self control.”

Self control protects us from The Enemy just as walls were used to protect cities in Bible times.

Song of Solomon 8:8b-9, “What shall we do for our sister for the day she is spoken for? If she is a wall, we will build towers of silver on her. If she is a door, we will enclose her with panels of cedar.”

On one level, this speaks of preserving the innocence of a younger sister but upon a deeper level this verse speaks of our responsibility to protect and care for one another within the Christian family. We see from the verse in Proverbs that the wall represents self control which protects us from the enemy. To have self control brings honor. (“Towers of silver”) If one in the Family of God has no self control, it is the duty of the rest of the Family to protect her, or him. The “Panels” that are mentioned in Song of Solomon, of course, represent protection, and cedar represents purity or preservation. Cedar does not rot or become corrupted, it even repels insects that would destroy the treasured object.

We may agree that it is a sin to be out of control, yet we normally feel little responsibility for another’s lack of discipline. Through these verses God has made me realize that it is just as much a sin to provoke someone else to lose control as it is to be out of control of ourselves.

The first example that comes to my mind is temper. As a child I remember taunting my sisters or brother in various ways, just to be annoying. If my taunting caused them to lose their temper, which it often did, I was actually guilty of sin as well as they were.

Teens or single adults will often play the game of seduction, flirting with the opposite sex because it gives them a feeling of power if they can cause the other to lose control and make a fool of themselves in one way or another. I have seen that Christian people who are trying the hardest to be self controlled in this area are often the target of the most determined seducers! It seems that they are attracted by the challenge, or maybe that they feel better about themselves if they can bring a good person down.

Even as adults, people sometimes goad others with words or actions that they know will provoke them. They may encourage a dieter to “just try one! I made them just for you!” Sounds innocent, doesn’t it? Yet if we are causing them to lose their self control we can be sure that they will feel terrible about it later, and that we are sinning.

Have you ever encouraged someone to buy some unnecessary item that you know they are fighting the urge to buy? Encouraged your husband to “drive a little faster” than the speed limit? Urged someone to share some juicy gossip with you?

These are just a few examples that come to mind but if you ask the Lord to reveal your heart to you, you may find (as I did) that there are ways that you never realized that you are hindering those who are trying to have self control instead of “surrounding them with walls of cedar”, as Proverbs tells us to do.

I Peter 1:5-11 5 “For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with mutual F5 affection, and mutual F6 affection with love. 8 For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 10:24 “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”

Hebrews 10:24 “Let us spur one another on towards love and good works.”
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