Self-control is a very important ability to have in our Christian walk. Without having self-control, we could be easily led astray by the desires of the flesh and the desires of the world. The importance of self-control does not need to be overlooked because it makes a huge difference in a person’s life. The Bible is our guidebook for life, and it tells us much about self-control.
While we cannot control every circumstance in our lives, we can control how we respond to the circumstance or the situation. Self-control helps us respond in the correct way that honors God and brings Him glory.
Cultivating self-control can be extremely difficult, but it is well worth the time and energy we invest in developing our own self-control. Each of us has different sins we struggle with, yet by exercising self-control, we will be better at reigning in our desires and avoiding sin.
Self-control helps us to avoid doing things that are bad for our physical, mental, and spiritual health and wellbeing. Each person has their own “poison” or their own recurring sin that is hard for them to overcome.
Ever since the Fall of Man, we all struggle with sin in different ways. Simply because you do not struggle with a specific sin that somebody else struggles with does not mean that it’s not hard for them to overcome.
As Christians, we need to be supportive and helpful as our fellow Christians work to cultivate self-control and overcome sin because we need their help in our own struggles too. We cannot overcome sin on our own because we can only overcome sin by God’s work in our lives.
The Holy Spirit helps us to walk in the Spirit rather than walking in the flesh (Galatians 5:16-18). When we walk in the Spirit, we will be better at avoiding sin and staying obedient to the Word of God.
The Bible tells us that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Each of the fruits of the Spirit is crucial to develop in our life, and self-control is listed as one of these fruits. Self-control is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit because we cannot cultivate true self-control apart from the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit wants us to live in conformity to the Bible’s teachings, and He will help us if we ask Him to. Unfortunately, the Holy Spirit is often overlooked within theological studies and Christian growth, but He should not be overlooked for one minute.
Due to being overlooked, many individuals have false views of the Holy Spirit and view Him as a “force” or a “ghost.”
The Holy Spirit is the third member of the Trinity, which means He is God. In our desire to obtain self-control, we need help from the Holy Spirit. He will help us if we pray to Him and do our best to exercise self-control in our daily life.
2. Power, Love, and Self-Control
The Bible also tells us that God has given us a Spirit of self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control” (New English Translation).
Here again, in this passage of Scripture, we are told that self-control cannot be cultivated apart from the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the one who can help us develop self-control in our lives. 2 Timothy 1:7 is stressing the truth that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but rather, God has given us a Spirit of power, love, and self-control.
Since God has given us the great gift and blessing of the Holy Spirit’s permanent indwelling inside of us, we can live without fear and know that God will continue to help us through every day of our lives, including helping us develop self-control. Through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, He can help us cultivate self-control.
Furthermore, Titus 1:8 tells us, “Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.”
While this specific verse is talking about the requirements of an elder of the church, it can apply to all of us. God wants us to live self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined lives.
By living these types of lives, we will be able to shine brightly for Christ and bring glory to His Name. We will also be happier in our own lives because having a lack of self-control can lead to many problems and sorrows.
3. Dangers of Not Having Self-Control
There are many dangers of not having self-control. Proverbs 25:28 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”
As this passage of the Old Testament tells us, we are like a city whose walls are broken through if we do not have self-control.
Self-control works almost like a protective wall that will help prevent us from giving in to the desires of the flesh. When we have self-control, we will be able to say “no” to the things that we know are going to harm us or others.
When we do not have self-control, we will not have that protective barrier, and we are going to be more likely to give in to the sin and say “yes.” There are great benefits to having self-control.
Self-control will help us to remain calm when we are angry and upset as well as self-control will help us say “no” to temptations.
We need to be constantly cultivating self-control in our lives or our lack of self-control will lead us down a dark road.
The Apostle Peter encourages us by writing, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love” (2 Peter 1:5-7).
When we add faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love to our faith, we will be able to escape the deception, corruption, and temptations of the world (2 Peter 1:4).
If we do not cultivate self-control, we will fall prey to the deception, corruption, and temptations of the world. Falling prey to the things of the world never ends well because lacking self-control can put a Christian at risk of developing bad habits, such as drugs, drunkenness, and immoral conduct.
Since these things are seen as “cool” and “appealing” to the world and the sinful flesh, one who lacks self-control is going to have a harder time resisting these temptations.
A lifestyle of drugs, drunkenness, and immoral conduct will lead a person down a very dark path for their life, which will only result in pain, misery, and an impaired relationship with God.
When we consistently live in a life of sin, we are going to be more prone to turn away from God and there will be friction in our relationship with Him.
Yet, when we turn back to Him, ask for forgiveness, and repent, the Lord happily receives us back again and forgives us because He loves us (1 John 1:9).
God wants us to live a life of self-control because He emphasizes the need for self-control throughout the Bible. If we are personally struggling with self-control, we can ask God to help us, and the Holy Spirit will help us to cultivate self-control.
Self-control is an ability that does not need to be overlooked because there are great benefits to having self-control, and by having self-control, it will make our lives here on earth much better.
Lacking self-control will only lead to a life of sin. Thus, self-control is extremely important, and God can help us to cultivate self-control in our lives — all we have to do is ask.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
These verses serve as a source of renewal for the mind and restoration for the heart by reinforcing the notion that, while human weakness is inevitable, God's strength is always available to uplift, guide, and empower us.
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