“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Self-control is not a new or revolutionary idea by any stretch of the imagination. It doesn’t turn heads or grab headlines. Self-control is so important and yet it may be the epitome of “easier said than done.” Self-control can be learned.
Alongside love and godliness, self-control is an important part of how we are to conduct ourselves as Christians. “In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness.” (2 Peter 1:5-6). 2 Timothy 1:7 adds, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” It is a “fruit of the Spirit” in Paul’s famous list (Galatians 5:22–23) and one of the first things that must be characteristic of leaders in the church (1 Timothy 3:2). And Proverbs 25:28 likens “a person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.“ True self-control is not about developing the ability to control ourselves, but giving control to Christ. In other words, not bringing ourselves under our own control, but under the power of Christ.
Most Christians have read or heard a sermon on the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. Each of the fruits are characteristics of God that are manifested in the believer. That is to say, God is the source of each of the fruit. We can’t conjure them up through self improvement, we can only allow God to form the fruit in us through the work of His Spirit in our lives. And that includes financial self-control.
James 1:13-14 says: ”And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.”
These verses tell me that the biggest problem I have – is me. I do the things I do – because I like to do it. When I do something I know is bad for me – many times I still do it because I like to do it. I want to do it. Self control can set you free. Free of that destructive habit. Free of that addiction. Free of poor choices. And free of debilitating debt.
- What was a big test of your self-control? Did you pass or fail?
- How does the Bible speak of self-control as a Christian trait in a positive way? (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 2:2, 5-6,11-12)
- If you realize that you are going to be in a situation that requires self-control, do you try to prepare yourself ahead of time? How?