Self-control: Take Control Now with This Gift From God

Knowing that we can change any bad habit through discipline with the help of the Holy Spirit is the most rewarding aspect of exercising self-control. For more details, devote 25 minutes of your valuable time and take control now with this gift from God!

Updated: Monday, December 25, 2023

Self-control: Take Control Now with This Gift From God

STM Bible Study Summary

In Christ, we live as self-disciplined people who are in the world but not of it. To grow spiritually, we need to control ourselves. Child of God the Holy Spirit makes it possible; are you using self-control?

Product (fruit) of the Holy Spirit

Galatians 5:22-25
But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace [or, freedom from anxiety], patience, kindness, goodness [or, generosity], faithfulness, 23 gentleness [or, considerateness], self-control [KJV: temperance]. Against such, there is no law.
24 Now the [ones who are] Christ’s [have] crucified the flesh with its passions and its desires [or, lusts]. 25 Since we are living in [or, by] the Spirit, let us also be keeping in line with [figuratively, be living in conformity with] the Spirit. (ALT)
KJV: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Learn to control yourself:

Learn to use self-control in all areas of life. Control yourself in all ways. This study can help you learn to control your life; by the power of the Holy Spirit, you can do it.

4 Key Points:

1. Required for church leaders

Self-control is required for church leaders (pastors, bishops, overseers, etc.).
Titus 1:7-8
This is because supervisors [overseers, bishops] should be without fault as God’s managers: they shouldn’t be stubborn, irritable, addicted to alcohol, a bully, or greedy. 8 Instead, they should show hospitality, love what is good, and be reasonable, ethical, godly, and self-controlled. (CEB)
KJV: For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;

2. Athletes use it

Paul used athletes as an example of self-control to win a prize. So we should do so in all things to receive the crown of life.
1 Corinthians 9:25
Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. (HCSB)
KJV: And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

3. Fools hate it

Those who do not control themselves are not wise. Do not lose control of your desires. This includes eating and wanting things. Allow the Spirit to help you stay in control.
Proverbs 1:7
Knowledge begins with respect for the Lord, but fools hate wisdom and self-control. (NCV)
KJV: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

4. Take control of your life

Every choice you make is a reflection of your faith. If you live by faith in Jesus, you will control your actions, thoughts, and your life. Child of God your life is a self-controlled faith life, is Jesus pleased with it?
Titus 2:12
Grace arrives with its own instruction: run away from anything that leads us away from God; abandon the lusts and passions of this world; live life now in this age with awareness and self-control, doing the right thing and keeping yourselves holy. (The Voice)
KJV: Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
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"The Holy Spirit is a gift from God. Self-control is part of that gift; learn to use it!"

A Gift from God

Self-control is a gift from God, did you know that? It is commonly known as temperance if you are more familiar with the King James revisions. However, some of the newer revisions e.g., Revised King James New Testament, New King James Version, and King James 2000 translate the Greek word egkrateia as self-control. In order to use self-control we first need to be aware of the things we do and why we do them-mindful of our actions.

Qualities of a Sound Church

Titus 2:1-5
But as for you, speak things that are fitting for sound instruction. 2 Older men are to be clear-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, in patience. 3 Likewise, older women are to be sanctified in demeanor—not backbiting or enslaved to much wine. Let them be teachers of what is good, 4 so that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, managing their household, kind, submitted to their own husbands, so that God’s word may not be dishonored. (TLV)
KJV: But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: 2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Self-control = Be Mindful of What You Do

Now that I write about the topic I realize my first mindful bout with using self-control was strange. It was September 2013, I struggled with an addiction, ‘potato chips‘—did I alarm you with the word addiction? Yes, a potato chip addiction, some may laugh and think “what is the big deal”? The big deal is an addiction of any kind shows lack of control.
Acts 24:16
Therefore I always exercise and discipline myself [mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects] to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscience, void of offense toward God and toward men. (AMP)
KJV: And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men.

The perfect gift

Is it a sin to love potato chips? Of course not, but it is not good to eat too many every day. I realize now that I was not in control of my eating habit. It was like I had the munchies every day. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (25 and 27), Paul compared himself to an athlete who “exercises self-control in all things” (World English Bible) to win a temporal prize. In comparison, we are striving for an eternal prize, should we be more disciplined in all things? There is a reason self-control is one of the gifts or I should say fruit of the Holy Spirit.
James 1:17
All that’s good, every perfect gift, is from above, and comes down from the Father who made heaven’s lights. Unlike them he doesn’t change—he doesn’t vary or cause shadows. (FBV)
KJV: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Self-control is a good and perfect gift since it is a gift from God.
1 Timothy 3:2
The overseer (pastor, bishop, elder) then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, (NET)
KJV: A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

A Spiritual tool/helper

What good is a tool if you never learn how to properly use it? Can a helper help you if you do not allow the helper to help? Will you ever find comfort if you will not accept comfort? These are all examples of the children of God who have the gift of the Holy Spirit (I am old-school so I normally say Holy Ghost) but have not learned how to use the Spirit. Let’s focus on one area in this post, ‘self-control’.
Proverbs 1:2-3
They teach wisdom and self-control [discipline; instruction]; they will help you understand wise words [insightful sayings]. 3 They will teach you how to be wise [insightful] and self-controlled [disciplined] and will teach you to do what is honest [righteous] and fair [just] and right [virtuous]. (EXB)
KJV: To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;

You can take control

Taking control of yourself, your thoughts, and actions is one of the most significant of all the attributes or Fruit of the Spirit as it is vital to the control of the other Fruit. For example, we are taught to love everyone, if we do not exercise self-control, love can become lust or lead to sensual desires extending beyond our spouse or natural affection. If we do not control our joy, we may show this fruit at an inopportune time, particularly when we should show sadness…
2 Peter 1:5-7
Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; 6 to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; 7 to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. (ERV)
KJV: And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

More than potato chips…I could not eat just one

graphic for self-control use it

Remember the Lays potato chip commercial (and the young people say what commercial?)? It was decades ago. Of course, God has helped me overcome more serious addictions like heroin and other illegal drugs among other things. I guess I should mention kicking the sugar habit when diabetes type II became a part of my life, but the potato chip addiction was different. God told me “I gave you self-control now use it”. Use self-control to kick the potato chip addiction–others were concerned about the problem including my wife, Chef Ann, and one of my granddaughters. It did not register as a problem until God spoke–I stopped the next day–now I do not crave them and I can eat just one!

I believe practice makes perfect even with the little things that may not seem to matter like potato chips. Practice self-control, keep the little things in check because they can develop into big things that aren’t so easy to overcome. I am thankful to God because He is such a big God who cares about us and will help us deal with what we may consider small or petty. He knows the future, who knows what might have developed had I continued to overdo it. I urge you to remember to use God’s gifts, He gave them to us for our benefit.

Question for self-control – a gift from God: Do you practice and use self-control?

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Use Self-control

"Athletes exercise self-control in all things; I discipline my body and keep it under control. From 1 Corinthians 9:25a and 27a"

“Using discipline”

Many believe everyone is able to control themselves. So why is it one of the benefits of the Holy Spirit? A good place to start will be the Old Testament, let’s look at what happened to God’s chosen people in their attempt to obey God and keep His laws (commandments or instructions). Let’s see if we can find a few examples of people lacking self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7
The Spirit that God has given us doesn’t make us weak and fearful. Instead, the Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control [it helps us discipline ourselves]. (RAD)
KJV: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Adam and Eve

Would Adam and Eve have benefited from having and using spiritual self-discipline? – Genesis 2:15-3:24 (focus on Genesis 3:6)
Genesis 3:3 and 6
But God said, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden. You must not even touch it. If you do that, you will die.” 6 The woman looked at the fruit on the tree. She saw that it would be good to eat, and it was beautiful to look at. She wanted to eat it because it would make her become wise. So she took some fruit and she ate it. Then she gave some of the fruit to her husband who was with her. He also ate it. (EASY)
KJV: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.


Moses may have been better off if he had spiritual self-restraint, do you agree? – Numbers 20:1-13 (7-8 and 11) and Deuteronomy 3:23-29
Numbers 20:7-8 and 11
The Lord told Moses, 8 “Take the rod, gather the community together, and then you and your brother Aaron are to speak to the rock right before their eyes. It will release water. As you bring water to them from the rock, the community and the cattle will be able to drink.” 11 Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod. Lots of water gushed out, and both the community and their cattle were able to drink. (ISV)
KJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 8 Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
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Paul’s advice

2 Corinthians 10:5-6
I destroy every claim and every reason that keeps people from knowing God. I keep every thought under control in order to make it obey Christ. 6 Until you have obeyed completely, I will be ready to punish you every time you don’t obey. (NIRV)
KJV: Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Synonyms for “self-control”

  • Abstinence – In general, the act or practice of voluntarily refraining from, or forbearing (holding off or keeping from, any action, indulgence of appetite, or from customary gratifications of one’s appetites.
  • Control – To curb; restrain; hold back; to exercise authority over; direct; command; a standard of comparison for verifying or checking; to regulate.
  • Discipline – Training that develops self-control, character, or orderliness and efficiency; subjection to rule; submissiveness to control; to keep in subjection; to regulate; to govern.
  • Moderation – The state or quality of keeping within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme; not violent; restraint; calm.
  • Restraint – Control of emotions, impulses, etc.; reserve (self-restraint or self-control).
  • Self-restraint – A control of one’s own emotions, impulses, actions etc.; self-control.
  • Temperance – 1. Moderation; particularly, habitual moderation in regard to the indulgence of the natural appetites and passions; restrained or moderate indulgence; as temperance in eating and drinking; temperance in the indulgence of joy or mirth; specifically, moderation, and sometimes abstinence. Temperance in eating and drinking is opposed to gluttony and drunkenness, and in other indulgences, to excess. 2. Patience; calmness; sedateness; moderation of passion.

Take control of your mind and your way of thinking

Colossians chapter three covers so much of what relates to self-control, thinking in a Godly way and living to please God. Let’s take a quick look at the key points, but I want you to think of how this can help you control your mind and actions:

  • Think of heavenly, Spiritual, or Godly things (vs 2).
  • No sex unless you are married and don’t want more and more things for yourself (vs 5).
  • Change the way you treat people (vs 8).
  • No more lying, that includes avoiding telling the truth (prevaricate) (vs 9).
  • Continue to change and become a new person (vs 10).
  • Allow the other Spiritual virtues to help you be like Christ (vs 12).
  • Forgive each other (vs 13).
  • To complete it all, love each other (vs 14).
  • Let the peace of God control you (vs 15).

Read Colossians 3

I urge you to read Colossians chapter 3, I merely provided a summary of the contents of the verses. Allow God to help you take control of your mind, your actions, words, and character will change in a positive way. It is an important step in your Spiritual development and growth.

Colossians 3:16 graphic for the self-control bible study
Romans 12:2
Don’t live the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you’ll be able to recognize what God wants for you and agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect. (RAD)
KJV: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
May God richly bless you as you continue to change into the person God wants you to be. My conversion began in 1978, I do not regret allowing Christ back into my life at all and I pray that you also enjoy your new life in the Lord. Take advantage of this wonderful gift of self-control and use it…
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"Do your best to improve your faith. You can do this by adding goodness, understanding, self-control, patience, devotion to God, concern for others, and love. 2 Peter 1:5-7 (CEV)"

Self-control wrap-up

1 Peter 1:13-16
So prepare your minds for service. With complete self-control put all your hope in the grace that will be yours when Jesus Christ comes. 14 In the past you did not have the understanding you have now, so you did the evil things you wanted to do. But now you are children of God, so you should obey him and not live the way you did before. 15 Be holy in everything you do, just as God is holy. He is the one who chose you. 16 In the Scriptures, God says, “Be holy, because I am holy.” (ERV)
KJV: Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
Footnote: 1 Peter 1:16 Quote from Leviticus 11:44, 45; 19:2; 20:7.

Be in control now

Self-control is a major element/fruit of the Spirit, it helps us control the other Fruit. For example, the Scriptures tell us to love each other (John 13:35; 1 Thessalonians 3:12). So, if we do not exercise self-control, love can become lust or lead to extreme fleshly desires. If we do not control our joy, we may demonstrate this fruit/emotion at an inappropriate time, particularly when we should demonstrate sadness…
1 Thessalonians 5:6
So we should not be like other people. We should not be sleeping [spiritually, hypnotized by the routines of this world], but we should be awake (alert, watchful, cautious, and on our guard) and have self-control. (ICB)
KJV: Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
The most rewarding aspect of using self-control for me is knowing that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I can change any bad habit through discipline. God makes it possible when we trust Him enough to let Him help us. Let God help you take control of your mind, your actions, and your life. Now is the time to live by faith in Jesus; know that He will help you control your life. Don’t wait, start using sef-control now with this gift from God!, my friends! Thank you for taking the time to read this Bible study. I urge you to make full use of it. Blessings to you and your loved ones— Tim. ☺

Outline for Self-control: Take Control Now with This Gift From God

Note: parenthesis (#) encloses the key verse(s).

Self-control: Summary

  • Product (fruit) of the Holy Spirit: Galatians 5:16-26 (22-25).
  • 4 Key Points: Titus 1:5-9 (7-8) and 2:11-15 (12); 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (25); and Proverbs 1:1-7 (7).

A Gift from God

  • Titus 2:1-10 (1-5).
  • Self-control = Be Mindful of What You Do: Acts 24:10-21 (16).
  • The perfect gift: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (25 and 27); James 1:12-18 (17); and 1 Timothy 3:1-7 (2).
  • A Spiritual tool/helper: Proverbs 1:1-7 (1-3).
  • You can take control: 2 Peter 1:5-11 (5-7).

Use Self-control

  • Using discipline: 2 Timothy 1:3-7 (7); Genesis 2:15-3:24 (3:6-7); Numbers 20:1-13 (7-12) and Deuteronomy 3:23-29; and 2 Corinthians 10:1-6 (5-6).
  • Take control of your mind and your way of thinking: Colossians 3:1-25 (2, 5, 8-10, and 12-15) and Romans 12:1-2 (2).


  • 1 Peter 1:13-21 (13-16) and Leviticus 11:44, 45; 19:2; 20:7.
  • Be in control now: John 13:31-35 (35); 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 (12), and 5:1-11 (6).

Related studies, lessons, and snacks for further spiritual growth:

See the latest on the Sound Truth Ministry website.

I look forward to your feedback via comment at the bottom of the page or by emailing Have a fantabulous day!


2 thoughts on “Self-control: Take Control Now with This Gift From God

  1. Thank you Amber, I am so pleased that you visited the site, each post is either a short or long Bible study backed by the Word of God. Though I am an ordained and called minister / teacher, I prefer to limit commentary and opinion and use as many Scriptures as possible encouraging the non-babes in Christ to learn to use the Holy Spirit and Scriptures to get a better and true understanding. Thank you for your comment, your use of this FREE work of love is encouraging, but your words of encouragement add more–be blessed–Tim.

  2. Great Post. I must take heed and practice more self control in many arenas of my life. Thanks for backing up the message with the Word of God. Keep writing, be encouraged!

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