We are likened to a city. A city that has walls is protected from outside attacks, it cannot be easily accessed. But when a city lacks walls; it’s vulnerable to anything and everything. Therefore, self control becomes a wall that shields our spirits from the onsets and temptations of the enemy. Without it, we are vulnerable and exposed to everything the enemy throws at us.
What are the areas the Bible tells us to exercise self control in?
We exercise self control over our emotions.
One of the emotions that is highlighted is anger.
There is a need for self control where getting angry is concerned because anger is the emotion that most causes us to stumble or leads us into sin. If a man can exercise self control over anger, he can have control over every other emotion.
He who is slow to anger is better than and more honorable than the mighty. And he who rules and controls his own spirit, than he who captures a city. Proverbs 16:32
There is a connection between being a person who is slow to anger and the ability to exercise self control over our spirit or emotions. We are told both are better than those who are mighty and able to capture a city.
He who is slow to anger has great understanding [and profits from his self control], But he who is quick-tempered exposes and exalts his foolishness [For all to see] proverbs 14:29AMP
Whenever we exercise self control over our emotions, we profit ourselves. It also shows that we have wisdom. When we lack self control, we expose our foolishness to everyone.
My beloved brothers, understand this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. James 1:10
Self control gives a man the ability to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
We exercise self control in all things.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self control in all things. They do it to obtain a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
We are compared to an athlete in a race. Because the athlete wants to win the prize, he exercises control in everything. He doesn’t say in some… he says…in all things. We are to exercise control in all things, in our desires; our passions, and our affections because we want to run the race of faith and win the prize.
We exercise self control in everything for three reasons.
1. So we can attend to prayer
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self controlled and sober minded for the sake of your prayers. 1 Peter 4:7
Another translation says…be clear minded
Another says…be earnest and disciplined in your prayers.
There is a need to exercise self control in all things for the purpose of prayer. We cannot be able to pray like we need to if we are living a life of excess, we will be distracted and uninspired in the things of God. But if we are going to be on fire for God and give attention to spiritual disciplines we have to exercise self control.
2. So we can be watchful against the enemy’s attacks
Be sober [ well balanced and self disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [ fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. 1 peter 5:8 AMP
We need to be self controlled so we can be able to see the enemy when he is coming after us. We cannot see temptation where we lack balance and discipline in our lives. The enemy knows that a person becomes an easy target when they lack balance and discipline. Even good things can become snares for the enemy to access us if we don’t exercise control.
3. So we can be able to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. Titus 2:11-12
The grace of God enables us to do two things: to say no to any ungodliness and worldly desires, as well as help us live self controlled lives. When we train ourselves to be self controlled in all things, we are able to renounce ungodliness and anything that doesn’t lead us into the righteousness of God.
Self control is also evidence that the HolySpirit dwells in us.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things, there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
It’s every believer’s mandate to exercise self control no matter their age. And as they do, they become an example to others.
Paul urges Titus to teach older men to be self controlled as well as model it. The older women to teach the young women to be self controlled. He was to teach the young men to live self controlled lives. Titus 2:2-6
May we learn how to exercise self control in all things and be examples of what a well balanced and self controlled life looks like, to a generation that wants to live an excess and undisciplined life.