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How Self-Control Is the Key to Living Your Best Life

“If only I had known earlier…” 

“I would never have done it…”

“I regret my choices…”

How often have you heard yourself, a friend, family member, or even a close colleague complaining this way? The path toward regret is one that many people have traveled intentionally, but God’s grace is always sufficient for those who come back to Him and surrender to His perfect will.  

Immature Decisions

As a youth growing up on the outskirts of a city, I witnessed the horrendous outcomes of poor choices, negative peer influence, and outright lack of self-control among many in my neighborhood. I saw wrong choices such as drugs and alcohol ruin promising talents and careers—painfully. 

At some point, I found myself making shortsighted decisions, too—frequenting clubs and wasting away my time and hard-earned cash on alcohol. My turning point came when I took an honest look at myself and decided I had had enough of that chapter. My gracious God never failed me—He embraced me, washed me clean, and empowered me to live a life that brings honor to His name. 

If this sounds like you, don’t suffer in silence. Call out to God and watch as He molds you afresh.    

How Can We Make Better Choices?

A lot of the way our life will go depends on our self-control—the ability to make right choices without feeling conflicted or derailed by temptations. As you pursue your goals, self-control is a key component to living a fulfilled life.

Self-control takes work and practice. As a self-controlled person, you need to make an effort to focus faithfully on your goals and make decisions that will help you achieve them.

The Bible says:

“Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”

2 Peter 1:5–7

But we can’t rely only on ourselves; the Bible tells us that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22–23

This means that if we are strong in the Spirit, it will be easier for us to follow God’s laws. If we’re not staying close to God, His grace isn’t moving in us, guiding our actions and choices.

Why Do We Need It?

Breaking old habits and strongholds can seem like more trouble than it’s worth. Why is self-control so important? 

1. In Decision-Making

Self-control will make your decision-making easier and right. When choosing between what is right and what is convenient, your ability to control less-important desires will help in a huge way. Focusing on Christ keeps you grounded whenever you need to make critical decisions.

2. When Faced with Temptation

Everyone gets tempted. The ability to rise above temptations is what helps you achieve your goals. The beauty of being in charge of your actions is that you will be able to stand strong and follow your dreams no matter the circumstances. 

3. In Personal Relationships

Would you live a peaceful life if everyone avoided you due to your erratic or uncontrollable tendencies? Definitely not. Self-control in your dealings with others helps you cultivate and manage personal relationships better, leading to a more fulfilling life. 

4. In Time Management

Time is an important resource that can contribute to your success if managed wisely. Self-control will help you prioritize key areas and eliminate what’s not important. This will keep you focused on your goals and increase your chances for future success. 

How Can We Get It?

It is often said that when you kneel before God, you can stand before any adversary and win! God is your Father, so get on your knees and ask Him for help. Surrender to Him, and He will give you the spiritual strength to make better choices.

Take time each day to meditate on God’s word. Let Him take center stage. Remember, a big part of self-control is removing your focus from who you are now and refocusing your whole attention on who God wants you to be.

God created you to live your best life and to honor Christ’s sacrifice on the cross by worshipping Him through good choices. Take that bold step today, and He will establish you according to His perfect will.

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