For Your Own Good: Learn To Control Yourself

Remains of columns

A man without self-control
is like a city broken into and left without walls.
Proverbs 25:28 ESV

Do you struggle with self-control?
Do you have a bad temper, do you procrastinate, indulge yourself in too much junk food, or just too much food, or watch too much TV, or possibly shopping is your thing.
A lack of self-control can find a million ways to express itself in our lives.

We all wish we weren’t that way, but we’ve tried not to be and that failed so we gave up, gave in, held up a white flag and just surrendered.

In the early days of my life as a Christian I began to realize that losing my temper was sin.
I had little kids and it was all their fault.

Oh, no, it wasn’t their fault.
They just did the things kids do.
It was my selfishness that reacted selfishly to the messes, the noise, the general inconvenience of little ones.

I know, bad, huh.
As my friend once said, “I feel like the words BAD MOTHER are tattooed across my forehead.”
Now I lack self-control and I’m dripping in guilt and shame.

A long time ago I found a definition of self-control in Jerry Bridges book, The Practice of Godliness.

Self-control is the exercise of inner strength under the direction of sound judgment that enables us to do, think, and say the things that are pleasing to God.

The thing I didn’t factor into the equation at the time, and sadly for too many years,
was that self-control is also part of the fruit of the Spirit.
What’s that you ask?

It’s the beauty of nine graces evident in the life of someone walking with God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Galatians 5:22-24

There is God’s part and there is a part for us.
He produces the fruit, but we have to learn to put to death our flesh and its passions and desires.

This is the season of Lent.
The perfect time to begin saying no to our flesh.

Just Say No was a slogan for a failed campaign against drug use in America.

It didn’t prove very success in the general population, but it works for believers.
We don’t do it in our own strength, but through the strength God gives.
He won’t overrule us or control us against our will, but He gladly supplies what we lack when we ask.

. . . God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect?
Psalm 18:32

We are the very best versions of ourselves when we invite the perfecting influence of the Holy Spirit into our lives.

Whatever you struggle with, you need to know that God cares.
He’s waiting to help you, to strengthen you, to walk you into victory over the selfishness and sin.
Remember, apart from Him you can’t do it. (John 15:5)

5 Comments on “For Your Own Good: Learn To Control Yourself

  1. So true. Without Him i am a disaster Kelly. He has made me such a better all around person.
    Amen!

    • I know what you mean, some times I wonder what kind of rubble would remain of my life and relationships if He hadn’t come to the rescue. What a wonderful Savior, what a wonderful God!

  2. What a great post. I dealt with this when my boys were young as well. But, I also find myself dealing with self-control at work, when driving, when…
    Anger, frustration, impatience: none of these come from the Lord. I think it is a matter of DAILY self-examination and renewal. Thank you for the reminder!

    • I think you’re right. When I don’t draw close to God I tend to give myself more permission to ‘act out’ my frustrations. One day I was rushing around because we were having company for dinner. No time with God that morning and on the way to the grocery store I pressed record on my iPhone to list a few things I needed. I thought I’d hit stop, but hadn’t. The phone recorded my comments about the guy in front of me at the stop sign. I was alone in the car. When I got to the store I pressed play and was shocked to hear myself saying, “Any time fellow.” “Go jerk.”
      God heard that. How many other things has He heard me say?
      Thankfully He forgives my sins. I know from experience—I need His help every day, all day.

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