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

Last update: Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Fruit of the Spirit
Picture of blue sky for the self-control bible study
The Holy Spirit makes self-control possible!

2 Timothy 3 warns of stressful times when people will not use self-control. 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. 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)

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.

Key Points:

  1. Required for church leaders

    Self-control is required for church leaders (pastors, bishops, overseers, etc.) – Titus 1:7-8 For it is necessary for a Bishop to be a man of virtue, as God’s servant; not pushing himself forward, not quickly moved to wrath or blows, not desiring profit for himself; 8 But opening his house freely to guests; a lover of what is good, serious-minded, upright, holy, self-controlled; (BBE)

  2. Athletes use it

    Athletes use self-control to win a prize. We should do so in all things for 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)

  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)

  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)

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A Gift from God
Picture with Tim's eyes for the self-control bible study 1 Corinthians 6:19
The Holy Spirit is a gift from God. Self-control is part of that gift; learn to use it!
From 1 Corinthians 6:19

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)

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.

Self-control = Be Mindful of What You Do

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)

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.

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 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights…” (RKJNT). Self-control is a good and perfect gift since it is a gift from God.

1 Timothy 3:2 Now a bishop (superintendent, overseer {elder, church leader, leader, pastor}) must give no grounds for accusation but must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, circumspect and temperate and self-controlled; [he must be] sensible and well behaved and dignified and lead an orderly (disciplined) life; [he must be] hospitable [showing love for and being a friend to the believers, especially strangers or foreigners, and be] a capable and qualified teacher, (AMP)

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 1:1-3 These are the wise words [proverbs] of Solomon son of David, king of Israel. 2 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)

Taking control of your self, 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)

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 centuries 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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Using Self-control
Picture of tim for the self-control bible study 1 Corinthians 9:25 1 Corinthians 9:27
Athletes exercise self-control in all things; I discipline my body and keep it under control
from 1 Corinthians 9:25a and 27a

“Using Self-Control”

2 Timothy 1:7 New International Reader’s Version (NIRV) God didn’t give us a spirit that makes us weak and fearful. He gave us a spirit that gives us power and love. It helps us control ourselves.

Many believe everyone is able to control them self. 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.

  • Would Adam and Eve have benefited from having and using Spiritual self-discipline? – Genesis 2:15-3:24 (focus on Genesis 3:6-7)
  • Moses may have been better off if he had Spiritual self-restraint do you agree? – Numbers 20:1-13 (7-12) and Deuteronomy 3:23-29

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2 Corinthians 10:5-6 (NIRV) 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.

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).
  • Reticence – The quality, instance, or state of being habitually silent or uncommunicative; a restraining from talking; a keeping of one’s own counsel.
  • Self-restraint – A control of one’s own emotions, impulses, actions etc.; self-control.
  • Taciturnity – The quality or state of being habitually silent; not apt to talk.
  • 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.
  • Virtue – General moral goodness; right action and thinking; uprightness (honesty or incorruptibility); rectitude (honesty or incorruptibility); morality (the character of being in accord with the principles or standards of right conduct).
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)

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 Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. (NCV)

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…

Scriptures to read and study:

1 Corinthians 7:1-9 (focus verses: 3-7; key verse: 5); 2 Corinthians 10:1-6; Romans 7:21-25; 8:1-11 (key verses: 5-8) and 12:1-16; Colossians 3:1-17; Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 1:21-23 and 3:1-4; Hebrews 4:12-16; 1 Peter 1:13-16; 2 Timothy 1:3-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 4:7-11; 2 Peter 1:5-11

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picture for self-control - rose garden, san jose, ca
“Self-control – 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)

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)

Footnotes: 1 Peter 1:16 Quote from Lev. 11:44, 45; 19:2; 20:7.

Take 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), 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…

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. Is Jesus pleased with the way you control your life? Now is the time to live by faith in Jesus; know that He will help you control your life. Don’t wait, live a faith life in Jesus and be blessed, my friends! Tim

Question for using self-control: Have you taken control of your mind, your actions, and your life?

Related Bible studies

Fruit of the Spirit || Understanding Self-Control

Copyright information:
(AMP) Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. ( || Scripture quotations marked (CEV) are from the Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission. || (ERV) Taken from the HOLY BIBLE: EASY-TO-READ VERSION © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center, Inc. and used by permission. || (EXB) The Expanded Bible Scripture taken from The Expanded Bible. Copyright ©2011 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. || (HCSB) Scripture quotations marked HCSB®, are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. HCSB® is a federally registered trademark of Holman Bible Publishers. || (NCV) Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. || Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. || Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.


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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