“I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.” ― Robert E. Lee
Self-control begins with an understanding that you cannot have everything you want just because you want it. For example, food in moderation is good, but eating in excess and with a lack of restraint can be bad for your health and wellbeing. Why is it so hard to control yourself when you want something? Sometimes you feel like you have to have it, and have it right now. Whatever your temptation is, maybe for you it is food, cigarettes, alcohol or sweets, and you have a hard time saying no to yourself where this behavior is concerned. There may be many areas in life where you need to have self-discipline, but find it difficult to maintain. Why is it so hard to deny yourself when in some cases you know the result from your lack of willpower will lead to health problems, dependency, or worse?
We Want Everything NOW!
Not in a few minutes, not in an hour, day or months, but INSTANTLY! The root of having lack of self-control is that most people want immediate gratification. We live in a society that is fast paced and with lots of pretty things that we want; even if it isn’t the best thing to have. Think about food. Americans tend to eat in excess. Why is that? Because we are bombarded, everywhere we go with commercials and billboards that encourage us to supersize our order. The fast-food companies prey on our inability to resist our desires. While it is good for businesses pushing these ads, it’s anything but helpful for those of us who pull out our wallets because we can’t fend off the flashy ads and growling tummies.
Another example of self-control is how we use our words. There are times when we want to say certain things to a person that is not the best thing to say. It may be hurtful, prideful or offending to the other person; therefore self-control must be used to keep our thoughts to ourselves instead of hurting someone. A lot of people today, especially young people, have been brought up to express how they feel openly and honestly – no matter how brutal it is. However, when the result gives the impression that it’s all about ME, ME, ME and don’t take into consideration the effect those words will have on someone else, the line has been crossed. Holding your tongue does not make you look weak, submissive or even dumb; actually, it’s just the opposite.
Is it worth it to practice self-control? Yes, it is.
Denial of your desires is hard work, but once you do it’s worth more than the labor you put in to accomplish it. Sometimes we don’t feel like we even need to control our desires. We feel entitled to enjoy and do whatever we want with little regards for the outcome. This arrogance is often what keeps us from having self-control in the first place and acknowledging behaviors that need to be controlled. There is never a good reason for a lack of self-control. We must be aware that we have help when the desire is before us, we must resist. When the temptation seems impossible to resist God always provides a door of escape (1Corinthians 10:13).
To avoid a lack of self-control, you must acknowledge that your excessive wants; your carnal desires; is not pleasing to God. You need to seek Him in those areas where you lack self-control lingers. Allow Him to work in you to remove the need to gratify your desires to have it all and have it all right now.
Study Scriptures: Proverbs 25:28; 2 Peter 1:5-7; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 1 Peter 4:7; Galatians5:22-23; 2 Timothy1:7