Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit. We are given the ability to produce this fierce fruit when we have the Holy Spirit operating in our lives. So, what makes it so hard to step into this gift?
What is self-control?
Self-control is defined as, “the ability to control oneself, in particular, one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult situations.”
Words such as self-discipline, restraint, and willpower also are used to describe this way of operating.
What does the Word of God say about self-control?
- “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”—Galatians 5:22-23 (emphasis added)
- “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh (self-control), to fulfill its”—Romans 13:14 (emphasis added)
- “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (self-control).”—2 Timothy 1:7 (emphasis added)
Self-control is the work of the Spirit active in your life. One way to identify if you lack self-control is to ask yourself these questions:
- “Am I trying to prove myself?”
- “Am I trying to build my kingdom or His?”
- “Am I justifying any behavior that doesn’t align with God’s Word?”
Self-control is not about selfish ambition or vain conceit, but rather humility and consideration of others before ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4).
Operating in the spirit of self-control isn’t just about keeping your body in check. We are tempted to indulge the flesh daily, from the things we watch to the things we eat. But what about keeping our words in check? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).
Managing our emotions, words, and reactions are more about being Spirit-controlled, which then leads to self-control.
Maybe you are confident in your ability to show self-control in your day-to-day life, but times and seasons that veer off the normal daily routine can put the temptations of anxiety and doubt in your path.
The spirits of busyness and exhaustion produce a breeding ground for the lack of self-control.
It is for this reason we need to be aware and delight in God’s faithful Word during every season, but especially during holidays, vacations, and celebrations.
One of the biggest culprits that can throw self-control to the back seat is being around family. Whether we acknowledge it (or like it) or not, personalities within families can clash. We are not perfect, and neither are our friends and families, but you have an opportunity at every gathering to show the love of Jesus to those you are around.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”—Galatians 6:10
It is by no mistake that the Lord placed you where you are today for a purpose and reason. Will you seize the day?
Let’s look at some practical ways to put God’s Word into action during this season.
1. Self-Control | The Flesh
- “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its”—Romans 13:14
Our flesh is continuously being put to the test. When we cast out the lust of always seeking to be right—relinquishing our “right to be right”—we will find that peace comes over the words we say and spreads among those we are with.
2. Self-Control | The Pace
- “And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do itto obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable ”—1 Corinthians 9:25
Self-control is always something the enemy uses to throw us off. Often the people around us are the ones who test this virtue the most. Being temperate is about gentleness. This may seem paradoxical when it comes to “competing for the prize,” but the one who wins is the one who paces himself.
Know where your limits are; set boundaries to preserve and protect the blessing of peace and the virtue of self-control. Bursting out of the gate and taking on more than what you are supposed to handle leads to exhaustion and lack of self-control.
3. Self-Control | The Devotions
- “…that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind…”—Ephesians 4:22-23
When we are around family, we often revert to old behaviors and patterns along with old ways of thinking and communicating. Renewing your mind every day with the Word of God refreshes the soul. You will be more equipped to release the spirit of self-control in every area of your life and with every person you come in contact with.
Busyness often leads to a decrease in devotional time with the Lord, but the busier our schedule is, the more necessary it is to walk in His ways and be in His Word. After all, in consistency lies the victory!
4. Self-Control | The New Man
- “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”—Colossians 3:12-13
This powerful verse is always good for instruction. We can put on the character of the new man—being made a new creation—during seasons of busyness such as the holidays. Showing compassion and choosing to forgive any hurts you’ve experienced opens the doors for peace and blessings to enter your home. Turning a listening ear to those who need it and being Jesus to others softens hearts.
Choose to put on your robe of righteousness, your new heart, and walk in self-control.
During times of celebration with friends and family, we are often reminded of those who are no longer with us as we look at the empty chairs at the table.
But God’s Word brings us comfort and calls to mind that a great cloud of witnesses surrounds us. Those we have loved and lost are just beyond the veil, smiling down on us.
- “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”—Hebrews 12:1-2
Take this time to focus on God’s Word, His nature, and His love so that you are equipped for everything He has written for you in the Books of Heaven.
Pray: “Lord, where I am lacking? What do You want me to trade in and exchange for Your peace, Your joy, and Your wisdom?”
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”—2 Timothy 3:16-17
He will instruct you in the ways you should go!