Practicing Self-Control

Self-control involves delaying an impulse or gratification for a greater purpose or cause. When we exercise self-control, we are saying “no” for the sake of a greater “yes.” Self-control isn’t easy. If more people demonstrated it, the prisons, hospitals and courts would have a lot less business!

I can easily exercise self-control as it relates to some things. However, I struggle when it involves chocolate, coffee, wine, shopping and sometimes my mouth (meaning what comes out of it). I have been praying about the things where I lack self-control, and recently, two of my favorite boutiques closed. If wineries and coffee shops start shutting down, I MAY be to blame!

I am also pretty good at justifying my lack of self-control. I justify overindulging in shopping by telling myself things like, “well, we could need a new roof and we don’t.” I also tell myself things like, “I’ve had a rough day and deserve to have that chocolate bar or glass of wine.”

Does God care if I exercise self-control as it relates to these types of things? I think He must, or they wouldn’t be on my mind as things that I should better control! Sometimes I think that he has us put self-control to work in everyday things so that we will be ready to better exercise our self-control muscles in the spiritual race ahead of us.

If we want to be successful as Christians, we definitely need to cultivate self-control. It is mentioned as one of the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

There might be a reason that it is the last fruit of Spirit listed as it is likely the hardest to master. Self-control requires spiritual maturity and reliance on God to help us garner the strength to deny ourselves.

Jesus is probably the only person who ever demonstrated perfect self-control throughout his life. The Bible says he had no sin. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Think about all of the self-control that he had to muster to have no sin! Especially when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness.

In Matthew 16:24, Jesus told his disciples “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” I think this means that we must “take up our cross” in our thoughts. When thoughts that aren’t pleasing to God come to our minds, we should put them to death on an inner cross, thus exercising self-control.

We are tempted by things of this world every day. Once we give in and Satan gets a stronghold in one area of our lives, he will work as hard as he can for his influence to bleed into other areas for our lives.

To develop self-control, we must recognize our weaknesses. Some of us are tempted by binging on food and/or drink, others by gambling, others by shopping, others by sex – the list could go on and on. If we are aware of our temptations, we will be able to take our struggles to God and ask for His help in overcoming them.

What if you fail in your quest to demonstrate self-control? Unfortunately, we are likely to fail at times. Ask for forgiveness from God, forgive yourself and move on!


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Stay up to date with our events and get exclusive article content right to your inbox!

Latest Stories

Other Featured Articles


All Article in Current Issue

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay up to date with our events and get exclusive article content right to your inbox!