Click on the title to read a thought provoking article on male self-control and its link to establishing strong civilizations. The author explores the Islamic view that self-control is impossible to achieve from within, and that it can only be achieved through externally applied forces (laws, burqas, etc.). He contrasts this with the Christian belief that self control is possible by focusing on higher thoughts. He then demonstrates that the key to a strong civilization is male-self control by highlighting the stark differences between Muslim civilizations and Western/Christian civilizations. It is a fascinating cultural and religious study.
Some may question whether it is possible to have true self-control. Certainly all Christians struggle with it to some degree. Even St Paul had issues. In reading Romans 7: 14-25, I take comfort that if such a spiritual giant as Paul struggled with these things then surely there is hope for me! I particularly like verses 24 and 25 when he says "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then on the one hand I myself with the mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin." Paul goes on in Romans Chapter 8 to remind us that "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and of death (verse 2)" and that "the mind set on the flesh is death but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace (verse 6). He also tells us in Galations Chapter 5 that if we walk by the Spirit we will not carry out the desires of the flesh (verse 16) and that self-control is one of the many good fruits of the Spirit (verse 22).
The difference between Islam and Christianity is that while Christians believe self control is possible through the Holy Spirit, Islamists believe it is not possible or necessary for anyone, men in particular, to exercise self-control. Control comes only through following externally applied rules and making sure every one else follows them. Men are not responsible for their actions; their behavior depends entirely upon how others, especially women, behave. What fascinates me is that this sort of attitude is very childish, very adolescent in nature. It is as if an entire nation of males collectively suffered spiritual and emotional growth stunt with the advent of Islam!
The author suggests that the key to success is self-control, whether it is an individual or a nation. Paul alluded to the same when he said, "when I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things (1 Corinthians 13: 11)." Self-control is a sign of maturity and comes from walking closely with God and allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell within. The Islamists have it half right. It is impossible to have self control on our own. If we try it by ourselves we end up struggling and crying out in frustration like Paul did in Romans Chapter 7. Nor is self-control possible through external means. Only through the Holy Spirit dwelling within us we can truly experience the beauty of self-control and all of the other wonderful gifts of the Spirit! My prayer is that all will seek to know the joy of the Holy Spirit. Blessings!