He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. — Pr. 25:28
Having lost all defensive fortifications, a man who cannot govern himself is like an ancient city whose walls have been broken. It is an enticing prey to all alien armies. Similarly, we read in Romans 6:9, 16:
Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
When we become Christ's servants, we are liberated from the shackles of sin as we stand united to Christ; and under His authority, we are dramatically alive to obedience and liberty (vv. 11, 17).
The principal government in the earth is the self-government of the godly man under God's authority. This is often referred to generically as self-discipline, but we must immediately distinguish this Biblical self-discipline from its classical, pagan expression. The self-discipline of ancient pagans, the unbelieving military community, and the modern sports community has nothing to do with Biblical self-discipline. Experiential self-discipline of the Christian is a direct effect of his union with Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:1-8). It is not "pulling oneself up by his bootstraps." It is not lacerating the body and mind to subordinate them to some "higher purpose." It is not the strenuous efforts of man in all of his humanistic Athenian glory.
The Biblically self-disciplined man lives moment by moment in absolute dependence upon Jesus Christ's great redemptive complex, energized by the Holy Spirit's great resurrection power (Rom. 8:11).
Biblical self-discipline is a fundamental aspect of self-government. Men who govern themselves under God's authority require few other human governments-and only limited ones at that. Self-governed men do not need the church to regulate their families. Self-governed men do not need the state to forcibly expropriate money from their paychecks in order to guarantee retirement income. Self-governed men energetically train their wives and children in the Faith, with the church supporting and assisting them. Self-governed men save money (and other assets) for their own retirement, while the state protects their property from molestation.
Self-Discipline or External Discipline
When men refuse to govern themselves, they implicitly invite others to govern them. Lack of self-discipline leads to external discipline. We discipline our minor children in order to lead them to self-discipline. A man who lacks self-government demonstrates an embarrassing immaturity.
Christians complain bitterly about ecclesiastical and civil tyranny. Yet they often have only themselves to blame for inviting that tyranny. Overzealous church nannies who justify their salaries by meddling in the details of every member's family are forced to return to their real job of preaching, prayer, and pastoring when strong husbands and fathers govern their own lives and their own families. The udders of a maternalistic state dry up when self-governing families refuse the warm, addictive, statist milk and earn and consume and save their own bread and meat by which they are sustained. Childish citizens clamor for the "protection" of government schools, Social Security, ADC, Medicare, Medicaid, and minimum wage. A number of these same little brats will complain every year at April 15, but they lack the discipline and maturity to Just Say No! to Mommy State that offers all sorts of goodies in return for the privilege of wet-nursing its mindless, security-blanket-shrouded citizens. Steel-backboned men are an anathema to the Nanny State. This is why the modern state colludes with feminism in assaulting godly manhood. Both the Nanny State and feminists are uninterested in equality; they are interested in destroying self-governing men, for self-governing men render obsolete most of the modern state as well as all of modern feminism.
The crying need of the hour is self-governed, godly men decisively leading their families, churches, businesses, and the state into greater conformity to the law of God.
- P. Andrew Sandlin
P. Andrew Sandlin is a Christian minister, theologian, and author. He is the founder and president of the Center for Cultural Leadership in Coulterville, California. He was formerly president of the National Reform Association and executive vice president of the Chalcedon Foundation. He is a minister in the Fellowship of Mere Christianity.. He was formerly a pastor at Church of the Word in Painesville, Ohio (1984-1995) and Cornerstone Bible Church in Scotts Valley, California (2004-2014).