He who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.  (Proverbs 16:32 ESV)

fool gives full vent to his anger showing a man on the road

The scripture above is a profound lesson not only on anger management but on emotional control and on how we operate as human beings. It begins by stating that those who are slow to get angry are better than those who are powerful. He goes further to clarify and expound on this statement in the second part stating the one who rules or controls his spirit is better than a warrior who conquers and captures a city.

Anger in itself is not a sin. When that anger takes over us and controls us as humans, we almost always do foolish and stupid things that we regret afterwards. The ability to control our anger or all of our emotions is called “self-control”, that is a fruit of the Spirit. In essence, He is saying that the person who has control over their emotions and are slow to get angry are better than those who are powerful. 

Notice how the Lord equates controlling our emotions with ruling our spirit. Spirit here does not mean your human spirit distinct from the soul as we typically think. He uses spirit here clearly synonymously with our emotions. Self-control is a highly prized virtue before God. Anger is only one emotion. There are other negative emotions such as lust or fear that we have to rule over.


Is it possible to control our emotions from what this verse is teaching? Think carefully on the verse above as you apply it to your own life.


Lack of self-control is the highway leading to many of our problems in life. Uncontrolled anger has ruined lives, marriages, businesses, relationships, etc. Can we even dare to measure the disaster that has resulted in society from our lack of control of sexual desires? Self-control is a treasure. Cultivate this fruit of the Spirit.


Ask the Spirit to help you rule over your spirit. 

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