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 well being.
Why is it so hard to control yourself when you want something? Sometimes you feel like you just have to have it, and have it right now. Whatever your temptation is, maybe for you it is food, cigarettes, alcohol or sweets, you have a hard time saying no to yourself where this thing is concerned. There may be many areas in life where you need to have self-control, but find it difficult to maintain. Why is it so hard to deny yourself when in some cases you know the end result of your lack of willpower will lead to health problems, dependency, or worse?
We Have Become a Society Who Wants Everything NOW!
Not in a few minutes, not in an hour or a day or months, but INSTANTLY! The root of the 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 they aren’t the best thing for us. 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 good for the businesses pushing the 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 what we want to say to a person 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 another. A lot of people today, especially young people, have been brought up to express how they feel openly and honestly – no matter how brutal that is. However when the result is one that gives the impression that it’s all about ME, ME, ME and doesn’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.
No One Said It Was Easy to Practice Self-Control, but It IS Worth It
Denial of your desires is hard work, but once you do it’s more than worth the labor you put in to accomplish it. Sometimes we don’t feel like we even need to control our desire. We feel entitled to enjoy and do whatever we want to with little regard for the outcome. This arrogance is often what keeps us from having self-control in the first place and acknowledging those behaviors that need to be controlled. There is never a reason for a lack of self-control. We must be ever aware that we have help and when the desire is before us, we must resist. When the temptation seems impossible to resist God always provides a door of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13.)
To avoid a lack of self-control it must be acknowledged that our excessive wants; our carnal desires; our entitled attitude is not pleasing to God. We need to seek Him in those areas where we lack self-control. Allow Him to work in us to remove the need to gratify our desire to have it all and have it all right now.