Inside: Self-control means to master our emotions instead of being mastered by them. It is the ability to control oneself and, in particular, our emotions and desires or the expression of them in our behavior – especially in difficult situations.
The need for self-control is clear in God’s Word. There is much said about it. We live in a world where we are tempted daily to overindulge and live outside our boundaries. We live in a world that is dominated by “self” – Self-centeredness, self-pity, selfishness, and self-deception.
Wayne Barber shared: What’s the middle letter of the word sin? What’s the middle letter? What’s the middle letter of the word pride? Now, you take those two things out—which by the way, the cross does—then you don’t even have a word. When you say yes to Him, you’ve just crucified the “I,” the flesh.
Proverbs 25:28 says, “like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.” This proverb gives us a picture of a city with its walls broken down and utterly defenseless as a picture of what happens when our wall of defense, our self-control, is gone, and we’re not able to battle the sinful desires that wage war against our soul.
Self-control means to master our emotions instead of being mastered by them. It is the ability to control oneself and in particular, our emotions and desires or the expression of them in our behavior – especially in difficult situations.
Listen to the Podcast:
John Piper said The very concept of “self-control” implies a battle between a divided self. He said it implies that our “self” produces desires we should not satisfy but instead “control.” We should deny ourselves and take up our cross daily, Jesus says, and follow him (Luke 9:23). Daily our “self” produces desires that should be “denied” or “controlled.” He continues – When we really see and believe that God is for us by grace through Jesus Christ, the power of wrong desires is broken. Therefore, the fight for self-control is a fight of faith.
Alistair Begg said it beautifully – “true freedom is not a license to do as we please but a liberty to do as we ought”Sin is internal it begins on the inside. If I've acted externally in a sinful way, it's because it started on the inside. The enemy of our souls is within us.
Jerry Bridges says about sound judgment, and it’s long, but it’s good:
“Sound judgment enables us to determine what we should do and how we should respond; inner strength provides the will to do it. Both sound judgment and inner strength are thus necessary for Spirit-directed self-control. Sound judgment is critical to the exercise of self-control. It enables the godly person not only to distinguish good from evil but also to sort out the good and the best. Sound judgment enables us to determine the boundaries of moderation in our appetites, desires, and habits. Sound judgment helps us to regulate our thoughts and keep our emotions under control.
But sound judgment alone is not enough to enable us to practice self-control. Inner strength is also essential. All too often we know very well what to do, but we do not do it. We allow our feelings or desire to overrule our judgment. Ultimately, 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.”Ultimately, 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.
Difficult Areas to Show Self-Control (each area touched on in the podcast):
“Eating to calm our fears, alleviate stress, overcome feelings of depression are other habits that do not glorify God.” – Carolyn Mahaney
“One of the ways that the Spirit’s name is translated in Scripture is Comforter. He wants to teach you to comfort yourself not with food, but with His comfort.” ~Elyse Fitzpatrick – Love to Eat, Hate to Eat
“I have heard of women who pride themselves on being “night people.” That means they have trouble getting up in the mornings because they come alive at night. They may stay up to all hours reading, watching television, or pursuing some sort of interest. The next morning they are too tired to get up and care for their family…These women are not “night people.” They are lazy and selfish. Who would not rather stay up late to do whatever they pleased and sleep late the next day? Once a young wife begins getting up earlier than her children and her husband, she will cease to be a “night person.” She will be tired at night and go to bed at a reasonable hour so she will be there to serve her family the next morning.” ~ Martha Peace
“If the kind of self-control and sensible thinking that we’re talking about is being produced by the grace of God and by the Spirit of God, this is a person who will not be uptight, rigid, legalistic, but a person who will be winsome, compelling, beautiful and free–free to live within the parameters that God has designed for our lives. Being sophron increases our capacity to pray, to love and to serve others.”
~ Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Scripture & Resources:
2 Peter 1:5-9
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
1 Corinthians 9:25-27
1 Corinthians 15:10
1 Corinthians 6:12
1 Corinthians 10:31
2 Corinthians 10:5
Proverbs 31:16, 24 & 27
Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney
The Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges
Love to Eat, Hate to Eat by Elyse Fitzpatrick