Back in the day, cities were surrounded by walls - some wood, others a combination of wood and stone. Walls provided a means of defending the city. There could be a couple sets of walls - each thoroughly encircling the city and several feet separating the outer from inner wall. Those who might want to do harm to those living within those walls were only able to do so if they could find a way past those walls. Therefore, the integrity of the walls was quite important. Broken down walls almost always ensured a city in ruins and with a people just too tired or lazy to do the repairs. The land within the walls could have huge potential - as could the people - but the potential remained untapped simply because there were no defenses. A person without self-control is like a city with broken down walls - no real defensive stand can be taken if you lack self-control.
A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out. (Proverbs 25:28 MSG)
Self-control is the ability to exercise restraint over one's feelings, emotions, and even your reactions. Without this ability, your emotions run the gamut and you find yourself constantly reacting to what life brings your way instead of being at all "pro-active". The emotions will come at your like hurricane force winds, leaving you with nothing but tons of debris in their wake. We need not so much walls of "defensiveness", but definitely walls of solid "defense" - better known in scripture as self-control.
The self-control "revolution" can be seen as learning to exercise will-power, but if we were very good at this would there be Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, lap band procedures, or even Lipozene? Not likely! We want instant results, without all the hard work of getting them. Just like the city dwellers too lazy to repair their walls and ensure they have good defenses, we "react" to our lack of self-control by paying a big price to "undo" what our lack of a proactive approach to our eating has caused. The city dwellers might lose their city - we lose a large chunk of cash and become a slave to the latest fads out there.
We have to begin to think of self-control not as merely will-power, but as the submission of our will (wants, wishes, desires) to a power greater than that which we normally can muster from within our own abilities. In submitting our choices and thoughts to God, we are tapping into his abilities and not remaining limited by the ups and downs of our emotions. Will-power is subject to our emotions - placing our will (mind, emotions, choices, etc.) into the hands of God takes emotion out of the driver's seat.
Truth be told, WE cannot control SELF. We need a source greater than us to get that muddle of emotion and desire under control! Best we leave this task clearly in the hands of the one who has all things under control - Jesus Christ. When we do, we are ensuring our "walls of defense" are secure and able to withstand the attacks of any interlopers into our emotions! Just Sayin!