7 Ways to Develop Self-Control

Self-control is a struggle for all Christians. Some of us struggle with old sins and bad habits that distract us in the Christian life. These are seven recommendations from my professor, Brad Klassen, on how to cultivate a temperate attitude. They were suggestions for elders but I believe there is a general principle that is applicable to all believers. I hope these will be practical for you.

1. Know Yourself (1 Cor 10:12)
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. (1 Cor 10:12 NAU)

2. Watch Yourself (1 Tim 4:16)
Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1Tim 4:16 NAU)

3. Watch the Goal (1 Cor 9:14-17)
So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. 15 But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. 17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. (1Cor 9:14 NAU)

4. Prize godliness (1 Tim 4:7-8)
But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1Tim 4:7 NAU)

5. Practice contentment (1 Tim 6:6-8)
But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. (1Ti 6:6 NAU)

6. Keep busy (2 Tim 2:4-6)
No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. (2Tim 2:4 NAU).

These are all illustrations of busy roles. Don’t allow your flesh a foothold in your life. Be busy in study, family, ministry. When you have nothing to do, that is when temptation is strong.

7. Live transparently (1 Thess 1:5)
for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. (1Thess 1:5 NAU)

The church knew exactly who Paul and the missionaries were. They knew what kind of men they were. They did not have to say anything to defend themselves because they knew their lives. This is the importance of accountability. Don’t hide anything. Embrace the glass house idea.. Rent a U-Haul and move into the glass house.


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