The meaning of self-control is the control or restraint of oneself or one's actions, feelings, etc. A second meaning is the control of one's emotions or desires by one's own will. Another definition is the controlling of one's own behavior.

We read in II Peter 1:5 -7," But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love."

There are many Biblical examples of self-control being utilized. Daniel is a good example. Daniel and his three friends declined partaking of the king's food and wine. By their actions, they showed self-control in their ability to stand up for their beliefs.

" But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself." Daniel 1:8

We learn that Daniel and his friends ate only vegetables and drank water for ten days, and at the end of the time were healthier than the young men who ate the king's food.

There are three areas in our lives where self-control is needed. One area is our THINKING. You may have heard someone say," I don't know what I was thinking. " We read in Proverbs 23:6-7,"Do not eat the bread of a miser nor desire his delicacies; for as he thinks in his heart, so is he. ' Eat and drink!' he says to you, But his heart is not with you.'"

But I say to you, that for every idle word that men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
Matthew 12:36-37 (NKJV)

Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Matthew 12:34 (NKJV)

" Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

A second area is that of our SPEECH. Our Lord God has told us how to speak and how not to speak.

A third area is our ACTIVITY. This would include the way in which we conduct ourselves.

We read in II Corinthians 6:17," Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. " You may have heard the phrase "You only live once." Too many people try to have all the gusto they can in life. As they strive to get all the gusto they can, their conduct might become unbalanced.

We learn in Proverbs 23:20," Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; "

Christians are told to be different from the world. That is done by our behavior. Our conduct should not be the same as the world's. " Abstain from every form of evil. "I Thessalonians 5:22

" Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." II Timothy 2:22

Pre-marital sex occurs far too often in our society.
Paul in writing to the Corinthians said,"... but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. " I Corinthians 7:9

In Romans 7:13-25 Paul tells of his struggle between his fleshly and his spiritual nature. For one to have self-control discipline is required.

We read in I Corinthians 9:27," But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. " We need to examine ourselves to see whether or not we are following God's commandments and not following our own path.

"I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to your testimonies. " Psalm 119: 59

Self- control is listed among the fruits of the Spirit. Sin is a transgression of God's will and in sin there is no self-control. The fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galations 5:22-23.

Discussion and study questions:
(1) Is it all right to merge ourselves into the conduct of the world?
(2) What is needed before self-control is effective?
(3) How does self-control affect our lives?
(4) Is there a guidebook to self-control, if so, what is it?

Copyright 2007 Linda Lawrence