The Battle Within

“Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” – Proverbs 16:32 

The story of Alexander the Great, the renowned conqueror of his time, is filled with tales of incredible conquests and remarkable achievements. He led armies to victory across Asia Minor, Egypt, India, Persia, and Syria, earning his legendary title. However, beyond the tales of triumph, there lies a poignant story of the battle within—the struggle for self-control and temperance. 

Alexander’s best friend, Cleitus, had been by his side since childhood. They played, studied, and fought together, forging a deep bond. Cleitus even saved Alexander’s life by disarming an assailant in a crucial battle. Their camaraderie was unbreakable, yet it was tested at a banquet in India, a celebration of past victories and future conquests. 

As the evening progressed and the wine flowed, inhibitions loosened. Alexander issued an order to Cleitus, who, in his inebriated state, responded disrespectfully. Fueled by anger and feeling humiliated, Alexander threw an apple at Cleitus. The apple was a symbol of anger, a prelude to a much darker act. 

In a moment of rage and wounded pride, Alexander’s self-control shattered. He grabbed a javelin spear and hurled it at his best friend, impaling Cleitus through the heart, instantly taking his life. The intoxication of both alcohol and anger had led to a tragedy that could never be undone. 

This story of Alexander the Great serves as an important reminder that even the mightiest conquerors can fall victim to their own emotions. As Proverbs 16:32 reminds us, “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” Alexander may have conquered nations, but he couldn’t conquer his own temper. 

While the world marveled at his military conquests, his inability to control his emotions led to the loss of a dear friend and plunged him into deep remorse and regret. Despite his military prowess, he had not mastered the art of self-control. 

In our own lives, we may not command armies or lead nations, but we all face battles within ourselves: struggles with anger, impatience, and a lack of self-control. It’s a reminder that true victory doesn’t solely come from conquering the world but also from conquering the battles within our hearts. 

Let us seek the wisdom to control our emotions and temper, to master self-control, and to respond to life’s challenges with grace and patience. May we learn from the lessons of history and, like Alexander, recognize the importance of inner conquest over outward triumphs. 

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bible verse

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

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