Self-control is the fruit of the Spirit. It is the evidence of the Spirit’s work in the life of God’s people. This means more than just physical or mental discipline. Only someone who is born of the Spirit of God can practice biblical self-control. What this means is that self-control is the way to joy and peace in this life. Here is one biblically based definition of self-control:
“Self-control is the ability to say no to my wrong desires and yes to what God wants me to do.”
Saying yes to myself looks like freedom, but in reality leads to slavery. Saying yes to God may look like slavery, but it is the only path to freedom. Think about all the times that you have done what seemed right to you. Did that really bring peace? If you are like me, the answer is no! This is why biblical self-control is a blessing. God’s direction in Scripture is the only safe choice that you and I can make. Biblical self-control means acting on the belief that God has a better way to do things than you do.
This is why the gospel must be the center-piece of your parenting. As a parent you are to constantly teach your child to turn from the deeds of the flesh and embrace the singular fruit of the Spirit. No child, or adult, can practice biblical self-control in his own strength. The power of Jesus is the only means to be able to say no to self and yes to God.
Self-control means saying yes to God and turning away from self-reliance and self-understanding. Don’t settle for the culture’s version of self-control. Tell your kids what the Bible says.
Here is a prayer for self-control for you and your children.
“Father, please help me to say no to sin and yes to obedience and pleasing you. I really want to do whatever you want me to do, but it’s too hard by myself. I need your help all the time to say “yes” to you. Please help me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”