"Control your emotions. Discipline your mind." - Severus Snape
"A person without self-control
is like a city broken into and left without walls." - Proverbs 25:28
On the off chance that some of you haven't read the Harry Potter books or seen the movies, let me enlighten you about one of those scenes.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry is beginning to discover that he and Voldemort, the epitome of all things evil, basically Wizard-Hitler, have a connection to one another's minds. In this particular scene, Voldemort has the upper hand. While Harry slept, Voldemort infiltrated Harry's dreams, manipulated his thoughts into showing him some disturbing things, and it woke Harry up out of a dead sleep and into a cold-sweat.
Harry was escorted into Headmaster Dumbledore's office, and from there, Dumbledore summoned Professor Snape in the middle of the night to teach Harry emergency lessons on the subject of Occlumency. Occlumency is described as, "A defense of the mind against external penetration, the prevention of external access or influence to one's thoughts and feelings." While trying to teach Harry how to keep his mind from being penetrated by the enemy, Snape says, "Control your emotions! Discipline your mind!"
It's a powerful scene. Why? Because it's a practice that would serve us all well.
The enemy loves to get in our head. Our mind is the enemy's playground. When he can't destroy, he discourages and distracts. When he can't create, he uses his cunning and craftiness.
Proverbs 25:28 paints a brutal picture of what a lack of discipline looks like, "a city broken into and left without walls." Laugh all you want, but that scene in Harry Potter is a glaringly similar situation to what we face daily. The enemy wants to infiltrate our mind and emotions. He doesn't have the advantage over God, so he wants to take advantage of you.
In college particularly, our minds and emotions are at risk. I don't want to come across as rude, so I will speak for myself. In college, I was so young and passionate in my faith, but I was also painfully naive and vulnerable. College is the litmus test of discipline and maturity for graduating seniors. You hear so many horror stories of how people lost their way when they went to school. It takes discipline to be able to maintain.
There are countless university studies that detail the alarming amount of stress collegiate students feel. You're out late, up early, and more autonomous than you've ever been in your life. It's a recipe for vulnerability.
What Proverbs describes here is a vulnerable city. There are no walls or defenses, the city has been broken into. It can be attacked at any moment and it has no hope of survival. This is a picture of the person who lacks self-control.
Use this time of life to discover who God has called you to be, not as an excuse to delay who He has called you to be. Guard your mind with the Word of God, discipline yourself in prayer, get up early and be productive. You may think that someday you will start that journey, but if you are looking past today then you have gone too far. Tomorrow is not even promised to you.
There is something special that God can do through people with passion and desire to know Him and make Him known, but passion and desire that wanders aimlessly is vulnerable to the adversary of our faith. Forge those disciplines in life that will set you up for success and fortify the walls of the city that God has given you.
Of course it's not easy, but in what world would that mean it's not worth it?
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