Category Archives: Self-control

Veins Running Fire

jane-eyre-charlotte-bronteThe awful struggle between spirit and flesh is best known by those who believe that the difference between them is of very great importance. Mr. Rochester’s agonized plea to Jane Eyre expresses that terrible conflict exactly.

"One instant, Jane. Give one glance to my horrible life when you are gone. All happiness will be torn away with you. What then is left? For a wife I have but the maniac upstairs: as well might you refer me to some corpse in yonder churchyard. What shall I do, Jane…?"

"Do as I do: trust in God and yourself. Believe in heaven…"

"Is it better to drive a fellow-creature to despair than to transgress a mere human law…?"

This was true: and while he spoke my very conscience and reason turned traitors against me, and charged me with crime in resisting him. They spoke almost as loud as Feeling: and that clamoured wildly. "Oh, comply!" it said. "Think of his misery; think of his danger — look at his state when left alone; remember his headlong nature; consider the recklessness following on despair — soothe him; save him; love him; tell him you love him and will be his. Who in the world cares for you? or who will be injured by what you do?"

Still indomitable was the reply — "I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad — as I am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth — so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane — quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs. Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot."

Lines must be drawn — in advance. “Foregone determinations” she called them. Principles. These established guards in advance, destined to prevent us from faltering when our steadfastness may be put on trial.

Quoted by Elisabeth Elliot in Chapter 7 of her book, Quest for Love

Act, Don’t React!

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

How we respond when we have been hurt or wronged is an eloquent indication of the depth of our walk with God.

As Christians we are called to a higher standard than the world. That standard highlights our inability to live the Christian life in our own strength. We can’t pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. We are totally inadequate for the task.

The following passages of Scripture reveal the standard to which we are held accountable as Christians:

• Luke 6:27-29 – But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.
• Romans 12:21 – Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
• 1 Peter 3:9 – Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

Two wrongs do not make a right. The writer of Proverbs says, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). We do not need to treat others in the same way that we have been treated. It is clear from these passages of Scripture that we need to act – not react. Neither should we simply be passive; but God’s Word confirms the need to actively rise above the tit-for-tat behavior that characterizes so many failing relationships.

This is what should set us apart as Christians; and why we need to daily draw on the power of the Risen Christ. The wrongs committed against us are opportunities for us to grow in our walk with God as we acknowledge the Truth of His Word and submit ourselves to be governed by its principles rather than our emotions.

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

The Monkey’s Clenched Fist

In North Africa the natives have a very easy way to capture monkeys. A gourd, with a hole just sufficiently large so that a monkey can thrust his hand into it, is filled with nuts and fastened firmly to a branch of a tree at sunset. During the night a monkey will discover the scent of food, and its source, and will put his hand into the gourd and grasp a handful of nuts. But the hole is too small for the monkey to withdraw his clenched fist, and he has not sense enough to let go of his bounty so that he may escape. Thus he pulls and pulls without success, and when morning comes he is quickly and easily taken.

George Washington’s “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation”

When George Washington – the first president of the United States – was just fifteen-years-old, he wrote the following Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation:
1 Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.
2 When in company, put not your hands to any part of the body not usually discovered.
3 Show nothing to your friend that may affright him.
4 In the presence of others, sing not to yourself with a humming voice, or drum with your fingers or feet.
5 If you cough, sneeze, sigh, or yawn, do it not loud but privately, and speak not in your yawning, but put your handkerchief or hand before your face and turn aside.
6 Sleep not when others speak; sit not when others stand; speak not when you should hold your peace; walk not on when others stop.
7 Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out your chamber half dressed.
8 At play and attire, it's good manners to give place to the last comer, and affect not to speak louder than ordinary.
9 Spit not into the fire, nor stoop low before it; neither put your hands into the flames to warm them, nor set your feet upon the fire, especially if there be meat before it.
10 When you sit down, keep your feet firm and even; without putting one on the other or crossing them.
11 Shift not yourself in the sight of others, nor gnaw your nails.
12 Shake not the head, feet, or legs; roll not the eyes; lift not one eyebrow higher than the other, wry not the mouth, and bedew no man's face with your spittle by [approaching too near] him [when] you speak.
13 Kill no vermin, or fleas, lice, ticks, etc. in the sight of others; if you see any filth or thick spittle put your foot dexterously upon it; if it be upon the clothes of your companions, put it off privately, and if it be upon your own clothes, return thanks to him who puts it off.
14 Turn not your back to others, especially in speaking; jog not the table or desk on which another reads or writes; lean not upon anyone.
15 Keep your nails clean and short, also your hands and teeth clean, yet without showing any great concern for them.
16 Do not puff up the cheeks, loll not out the tongue with the hands, or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them, or keep the lips too open or too close.
17 Be no flatterer, neither play with any that delight not to be played withal.
18 Read no letter, books, or papers in company, but when there is a necessity for the doing of it, you must ask leave; come not near the books or writings of another so as to read them unless desired, or give your opinion of them unasked,- also look not nigh when another is writing a letter.
19 Let your countenance be pleasant but in serious matters somewhat grave.
20 The gestures of the body must be suited to the discourse you are upon.
21 Reproach none for the infirmities of nature, nor delight to put them that have in mind of thereof.
22 Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy.
23 When you see a crime punished, you may be inwardly pleased; but [damaged manuscript] show pity to the suffering offender.
24 [damaged manuscript]
25 Superfluous compliments and all affectation of ceremonies are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be neglected.
26 In putting off your hat to persons of distinction, as noblemen, justices, churchmen, etc., make a reverence, bowing more or less according to the custom of the better bred, and quality of the persons; among your equals expect not always that they should begin with you first; but to pull off the hat when there is no need is affectation, in the manner of saluting and resaluting in word keep to the most usual custom.
27 'Tis ill manners to bed one more eminent than yourself be covered, as well as not to do it to whom it is due. Likewise he that makes too much haste to put on his hat does not well, yet he ought to put it on at the first, or at most the second time of being asked; now what is herein spoken, of qualification in behavior or saluting ought to be taking place and sitting down for ceremonies without bounds are troublesome.
28 If any one come to speak to you while you are [are] sitting, stand up, though he be your inferior, and when you present seats, let it be to everyone according to his degree.
29 When you meet with one of greater quality than yourself, stop, and retire, especially if it be at a door or any straight place, to give way for him to pass.
30 In walking the highest place in most countries hand; therefore place yourself on the left of him whom you desire to honor: but if three walk together the middle place is the most honorable; the wall is usually given to the most worthy if two walk together.
31 If anyone far surpasses others, either in age, estate, or merits [and] would give place to a meaner than himself, the same ought not to accept it, s[ave he offer] it above once or twice.
32 To one that is your equal, or not much inferior, you are to give the chief place in your lodging, and he to whom it is offered ought at the first to refuse it, but at the second to accept though not without acknowledging his own unworthiness.
33 They that are in dignity or in office have in all places precedency, but whilst they are young, they ought to respect those that are their equals in birth or other qualities, though they have no public charge.
34 It is good manners to prefer them to whom we speak before ourselves, especially if they be above us, with whom in no sort we ought to begin.
35 Let your discourse with men of business be short and comprehensive.
36 Artificers and persons of low degree ought not to use many ceremonies to lords or others of high degree, but respect and highly honor then, and those of high degree ought to treat them with affability and courtesy, without arrogance.
37 In speaking to men of quality do not lean nor look them full in the face, nor approach too near them at left. Keep a full pace from them.
38 In visiting the sick, do not presently play the physician if you be not knowing therein.
39 In writing or speaking, give to every person his due title according to his degree and the custom of the place.
40 Strive not with your superior in argument, but always submit your argument to others with modesty.
41 Undertake not to teach your equal in the art himself professes; it (manuscript damaged ) of arrogance.
42 [damaged manuscript]; and same with a clown and a prince.
43 Do not express joy before one sick in pain, for that contrary passion will aggravate his misery.
44 When a man does all he can, though it succeed not well, blame not him that did it.
45 Being to advise or reprehend any one, consider whether it ought to be in public or in private, and presently or at some other time; in what terms to do it; and in reproving show no signs of cholor but do it with all sweetness and mildness.
46 Take all admonitions thankfully in what time or place soever given, but afterwards not being culpable take a time and place convenient to let him know it that gave them.
47 Mock not nor jest at any thing of importance. Break no jests that are sharp, biting, and if you deliver any thing witty and pleasant, abstain from laughing thereat yourself.
48 Where in [wherein] you reprove another be unblameable yourself, -for example is more prevalent than precepts.
49 Use no reproachful language against any one; neither curse nor revile.
50 Be not hasty to believe flying reports to the disparagement of any.
51 Wear not your clothes foul, or ripped, or dusty, but see they be brushed once every day at least and take heed that you approach not to any uncleanness.
52 In your apparel be modest and endeavor to accommodate nature, rather than to procure admiration; keep to the fashion of your equals, such as are civil and orderly with respect to time and places.
53 Run not in the streets, neither go too slowly, nor with mouth open; go not shaking of arms, nor upon the toes, nor in a dancing [damaged manuscript].
54 Play not the peacock, looking every where about you, to see if you be well decked, if your shoes fit well, if your stockings sit neatly and clothes handsomely.
55 Eat not in the streets, nor in your house, out of season.
56 Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company.
57 In walking up and down in a house, only with one in company if he be greater than yourself, at the first give him the right hand and stop not till he does and be not the first that turns, and when you do turn let it be with your face towards him; if he be a man of great quality walk not with him cheek by jowl but somewhat behind him but yet in such a manner that he may easily speak to you.
58 Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for 'tis a sign of a tractable and commendable nature, and in all causes of passion permit reason to govern.
59 Never express anything unbecoming, nor act against the rules before your inferiors.
60 Be not immodest in urging your friends to discover a secret.
61 Utter not base and frivolous things among grave and learned men, nor very difficult questions or subjects among the ignorant, or things hard to be believed; stuff not your discourse with sentences among your betters nor equals.
62 Speak not of doleful things in a time of mirth or at the table; speak not of melancholy things or death and wounds, and if others mention them, change if you can the discourse; tell not your dream, but to your intimate.
63 A man ought not to value himself of his achievements or rare qualities [damaged manuscript] virtue or kindred.
64 Break not a jest where none take pleasure in mirth; laugh not alone, nor at all without occasion; deride no man's misfortune though there seem to be some cause.
65 Speak not injurious words neither in jest nor earnest; scoff at none although they give occasion.
66 Be not froward but friendly and courteous, the first to salute, hear, and answer; and be not pensive when it's a time to converse.
67 Detract not from others, neither be excessive in commanding.
68 Go not thither, where you know not whether you shall be welcome or not; give not advice [without] being asked, and when desired do it briefly.
69 If two contend together take not the part of either unconstrained, and be not obstinate in your own opinion; in things indifferent be of the major side.
70 Reprehend not the imperfections of others,for that belongs to parents, masters, and superiors.
71 Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of others and ask not how they came. What you may speak in secret to your friend, deliver not before others.
72 Speak not in an unknown tongue in company but in your own language and that as those of quality do and not as the vulgar; sublime matters treat seriously.
73 Think before you speak; pronounce not imperfectly, nor bring out your words too hastily, but orderly and distinctly.
74 When another speaks, be attentive yourself; and disturb not the audience. If any hesitate in his words, help him not nor prompt him without desired; interrupt him not, nor answer him till his speech has ended.
75 In the midst of discourse [damaged manuscript] but if you perceive any stop because of [damaged manuscript]; to proceed: If a person of quality comes in while you're conversing, it's handsome to repeat what was said before.
76 While you are talking, point not with your finger at him of whom you discourse, nor approach too near him to whom you talk especially to his face.
77 Treat with men at fit times about business and whisper not in the company of others.
78 Make no comparisons and if any of the company be commended for any brave act of virtue, commend not another for the same.
79 Be not apt to relate news if you know not the truth thereof. In discoursing of things you have heard, name not your author always; a secret discover not.
80 Be not tedious in discourse or in reading unless you find the company pleased therewith.
81 Be not curious to know the affairs of others, neither approach those that speak in private.
82 Undertake not what you cannot perform but be careful to keep your promise.
83 When you deliver a matter do it without passion and with discretion, however mean the person be you do it to.
84 When your superiors talk to anybody neither speak nor laugh.
85 In company of those of higher quality than yourself, speak not 'till you are asked a question, then stand upright, put off your hat and answer in few words.
86 In disputes, be not so desirous to overcome as not to give liberty to one to deliver his opinion and submit to the judgment of the major part, specially if they are judges of the dispute.
87 [damaged manuscript] as becomes a man grave, settled, and attentive [damaged manuscript] [predict not at every turn what others say.
88 Be not diverse in discourse; make not many digressions; nor repeat often the same manner of discourse.
89 Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust.
90 Being set at meat scratch not, neither spit, cough, or blow your nose except there's a necessity for it.
91 Make no show of taking great delight in your the table; neither find great delight in your victuals; feed not with greediness; eat your bread with a knife; lean not on the table; neither find fault with what you eat.
92 Take no salt or cut bread with your knife greasy.
93 Entertaining anyone at table it is decent to present him with meat; undertake not to help others desired by the master.
94 If you soak bread in the sauce, let it be no more than what you put in your mouth at a time and blow not your broth at table; let it stay till it cools of itself.
95 Put not your meat to your mouth with your knife in your hand; neither spit forth the stones of any fruit pie upon a dish nor cast anything under the table.
96 It's unbecoming to heap much to one's meat keep your fingers clean; when foul wipe them on a corner of your table napkin.
97 Put not another bite into your mouth till the former be swallow; let not your morsels be too big.
98 Drink not nor talk with your mouth full; neither gaze about you while you are a drinking.
99 Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily. Before and after drinking wipe your lips; breathe not then or ever with too great a noise, for it is an evil.
100 Cleanse not your teeth with the tablecloth, napkin, fork, or knife; but if others do it, let it be done without a peep to them.
101 Rinse not your mouth in the presence of others.
102 It is out of use to call upon the company often to eat; nor need you drink to others every time you drink.
103 In company of your betters be not [damaged manuscript] than they are; lay not your arm but [damaged manuscript].
104 It belongs to the chiefest in company to unfold his napkin and fall to meat first; but he ought then to begin in time and to dispatch with dexterity that the slowest may have time allowed him.
105 Be not angry at table whatever happens and if you have reason to be so, show it not but on a cheerful countenance especially if there be strangers, for good humor makes one dish of meat and whey.
106 Set not yourself at the upper of the table but if it be your due, or that the master of the house will have it so, contend not, lest you should trouble the company.
107 If others talk at table be attentive but talk not with meat in your mouth.
108 When you speak of God or his Attributes, let it be seriously; reverence, honor and obey your natural parents although they be poor.
109 Let your recreations be manful not sinful.
110 Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

Desires Are Not Rights

In teaching self-control it is important to understand the difference between desires and rights. Our children may desire an extra helping of dessert, but it is not a right. A young man may desire to drive at 70 mph in a 30 mph area, but it is certainly not a right. To be law-abiding citizens, children must recognize that just because they desire something, it is not their right to have it.

Character First! Education Series 2

The Impact of Negative Words

One speaker comments: Over the past decade, whenever I have lectured throughout the country on the powerful, and often negative, impact of words, I have asked audiences if they can go for twenty-four hours without saying any unkind words about, or to, anybody. Invariably, a minority of listeners raise their hands signifying “yes,” some laugh, and quite a large number call out, “no!” I respond by saying, “Those who can’t answer ‘yes’ must recognize that you have a serious problem. If you cannot go for twenty-four hours without smoking, you are addicted to nicotine. If you cannot go twenty-four hours without a drink, you’re most likely an alcoholic. Similarly, if you cannot go for twenty-four hours without saying unkind words about others, then you have lost control over your tongue.”


(A) TEMPERANCE (Select Readings)
#Pr 23:1-35 Isa 5:1-30 28:1-29 Da 1:1-21

(1) General References to
#Pr 21:17 23:1,2 25:16 Ac 24:25 1Co 9:25 Ga 5:23
#Tit 2:2 2Pe 1:6

(2) Total Abstinence from Strong Drink
Enjoined upon the Priests #Le 10:9
Law from the Nazarites #Nu 6:3 De 29:6 Jud 13:4
The Wise Man’s Injunction #Pr 23:31
Rule for Kings #Pr 31:4
The Law of the Rechabites #Jer 35:6
Daniel’s Temperance Principles #Da 1:8 10:3 Mt 11:18
John the Baptist a Total Abstainer #Lu 1:15
Brotherly Love Demands #Ro 14:21 1Co 8:13


(1) The Duty of
Over the Spirit #Pr 16:32 25:28
Over the Life #Ac 24:25
Over the Lusts of the Flesh #Ro 6:12 1Co 6:12
Over the Tongue #Jas 3:2
A Cardinal Virtue #2Pe 1:5-7

(2) Examples of
#Jer 35:6 Da 1:8 1Co 9:27


(1) Warnings Against
#De 21:20 Pr 20:1 23:20,29-31 Ec 10:17 Isa 5:11 28:1 Na 1:10
#Hab 2:15 Lu 21:34 Ro 13:13 1Co 6:10 Eph 5:18 1Th 5:7

(2) Examples of
—Noah #Ge 9:21
—Nabal #1Sa 25:36
—Uriah #2Sa 11:13
—Elah #1Ki 16:9
—Ben Hadad #1Ki 20:16
—Ahasuerus #Es 1:10
—Watchmen of Israel #Isa 56:12
—Kings of Israel #Ho 7:5
—Other examples #Joe 3:3 Lu 12:45 1Co 11:21

Five Probing Questions Related to Self Control

  • Do you have any habits which you know grieve the Holy Spirit?
  • Do you know how to discern a prompting of the Holy Spirit?
  • Do you learn all the facts before answering a matter?
  • Do you have regular times of fasting?
  • Are you committed to giving a good report and rejecting gossip?

Character Clues Game

Like the Scrubbing of a Doctor’s Hands

Dr. Maltie Babcock was approached by a member of his congregation who was concerned about his health. Handing Dr. Babcock some theatre tickets he said, “Take these. You need the recreation of going to this play.” His pastor looked at them. Seeing they were tickets to a play of a kind he could not conscientiously attend, he said kindly, “Thank you, but I can’t take them. I can’t go.”

“Why not?” the physician asked.

“Doctor, it’s this way. You’re a physician – a surgeon, in fact. When you operate, you scrub your hands meticulously until you are especially clean. You wouldn’t dare operate with dirty hands. I’m a servant of Christ. I deal with precious human souls. I wouldn’t dare do my service with a dirty life.”

-The Expositer

You Can’t Run the Country If…

With his six-foot, three-inch frame, and carrying over 210 pounds, former President Lyndon B. Johnson was given some weighty wisdom by his wife. Mrs. Johnson told the President: “You can’t run the country if you can’t run yourself.” The President took that word to heart, and pulled his weight down to about 187 pounds.

Self-Control in the home includes:

  • Family members controlling their tempers and resolving any anger they might have
  • Being careful to speak words that would only encourage and not tear down one another, even when irritated
  • Parents instilling in their children the good habits of proper nutrition, vigorous exercise, rising early, and following a structured daily schedule

Achieving True Success by Building a Character Family, IACC, Oklahoma City

Self-Control on the Battlefield

“The battlefield is chaotic and deadly, and it is on the battlefield that we hold the responsibility of enormous destructive power in our hands. There, most of all, self-control is the premier ethical virtue.”

“Self-control is a crucial value for all Marines to develop. It requires discipline, patience, self-understanding and a willing deference to others and the greater good. In a hectic world where so many things are beyond our control, self-control provides personal balance and a firm anchor of peace.”

“As Marines develop self-control, they also improve their character.”

Semper Fidelis, C.C. Krulak, 1996

Self-Control in the Pulpit

What I’m about to describe has and is happening. In fact, it is exacerbating and complicating the problem of anger in our homes. A preacher gets angry in the pulpit, or uses anger in his preaching, or has an angry spirit while he is preaching. “How do I know?” Because I’ve been guilty. But I’m afraid I’m not alone. In fact, I have been in meetings where the “Amens” were the loudest when the preacher was the most angry. And I’m not against “Amens!” Sadly, most preachers who have this problem are like James and John. They don’t know it. It’s easy to get confused and think that the emotional high of anger is the same thing as the power of God upon your life.

Some people who hear an angry preacher preach know that he’s angry. But many men in the congregation have the same problem and therefore don’t know it. For a strong Bible preacher to have an angry spirit is not only an accepted thing in our day. It is also, in some circles, a strongly promoted, encouraged, and expected thing. Preachers have said things like: “If you don’t get in the pulpit and have a royal fit once every few months then you’ll have carnal, worldly church members and your church will never be all it ought to be.” So the use of the carnal, worldly weapon of anger is supposedly proper and powerful to fight carnality and worldliness. Sometimes the angry spirit is heard in the things a preacher says, or the way he says them, or both!

Why do we use anger? Every preacher would have to answer that question for himself. But it’s easy to use anger as a substitute for study. If the point is not well supported with Scripture, Scriptural principle, Scriptural illustrations, strong reasoning, or other illustrations . . . . just use a little anger to drive the point home! Then, if a fellow is really talented, he may use some humor to gloss over the hurt being caused by his anger. Like a father trying to get a child to laugh after he just said or did something cruel or hurtful. Humor may wisely be used to make truth more acceptable. But humor should not be used to make anger more acceptable. Incidentally, anyone who says anything in anger will probably say the wrong thing. BUT, if you do say the right thing it will probably be said the wrong way. Proverbs 14:17 says, “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly.”

What are the results of this angry spirit in our pulpits? There are several of them:

(1) Continual strife among pastor and deacons, and pastor and people, and people and people. Remember that Proverbs 29:22 says, “An angry man stirreth up strife.”

(2) Empty pews and people going to churches that don’t teach and preach the Bible just to get away from the angry spirit in the Bible-believing church. One preacher said to me, “I don’t believe all the people I ran off for years and blamed it on them when it wasn’t anything but my own angry spirit.”

(3) A plague of anger is spread throughout homes, businesses, and society.

I was very careful how I chose those words. Anger is like a contagious plague! Since the anger is behind the pulpit, it must be right not only for there but for anywhere else. But that’s not the worst problem we have in this area. We are not simply defending and justifying a carnal work of the flesh. We are also promoting the spread of something that God himself says is contagious like a deadly disease. Proverbs 22:24-25 says, “Make no friendship [the Hebrew word means to pasture or feed] with an angry man [the Hebrew word means “ruler” or “leader”]; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: [WHY?] Lest [means “beware] thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” When a preacher stands in the pulpit with an angry spirit, the fathers in the church “catch it” and don’t know they have it. Then many of the youth rebel against their parents and we can’t figure out how or why it has happened. I know this isn’t the only reason for problems in our churches and homes, but it is probably a bigger one than we realize.

(4) Vengeance is being handled by someone not Biblically qualified to handle it. An angry preacher may think he is giving reproof and correction. In reality, he is exercising vengeance upon God’s people.

(5) It causes us to lose the battle to spread God’s truth among the nations of the world. Our spirit of anger weakens or neutralizes our presentation of the truth.

The truth of the spirit is not the most powerful when it is presented with a work of the flesh. The truth of the spirit is the most powerful when it is presented with the fruit of the spirit.

A pastor said to me, “But couldn’t the intensity of our presentation of the truth cause people to think we’re angry when we’re really not?” My reply to him was this: “Our love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance should be so obvious that there would be no question about our being angry.” The Holy Spirit knows better how to use His Sword than do we! Let me make clear what I’m saying here. I am not against strong, clear, plain, powerful, bold preaching. I’m for that. I am for preaching that exposes sin and Satan. What I am saying is this: It may be a fine line, but there must be a line drawn: between being emphatic or being enraged; between being fiery or being frightening; between being watchful or wrathful. There must be a line between correction and condemnation; between intensity and indignation; between reproving and raging. I’m not suggesting passivity. No great leaders in the Bible were passive men. I am suggesting that our attacks and our defenses be filled with spiritual propriety and humility and a heart of concern. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you, a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”

Luke 4:22 tells about Jesus’ message in the synagogue at Nazareth. What was it that stood out about Jesus’ preaching? “And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.”

From the message, “Freedom from the Spirit of Anger” by Dr. S.M. Davis

How to Demonstrate Self-control

at Home

  • Refuse to allow other family members to provoke you to anger.
  • Never discipline in anger.
  • Look for ways to serve other family members rather than yourself.
  • Purpose never to raise your voice in anger in the home.

at Work/School

  • Purpose ahead of time that you will stand alone for what is right and refuse to compromise.
  • Refuse to participate in harmful habits.
  • Choose to walk away from questionable activities.
  • Don’t allow anger to destroy the effectiveness of your witness.

at Church

  • Reject gossip about church leaders and other church members.
  • Never react in anger to those who disagree with you.
  • Follow the principles in Matthew 18:15-20 to restore someone who has a fault.

Character Definitions of Self-control

  • Learning to quickly identify and obey the initial promptings of the Holy Spirit. Bringing my thoughts, words, and actions under the control of the Holy Spirit. (Character Clues Game)
  • Rejecting wrong desires and doing what is right (International Association of Character Cities)
  • Rejecting my own desires and doing what is right (Character First!)
  • self-con’trol n. control of oneself, one’s desires, reactions, etc. (New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary)

Bible Verses Related to Self-control

Spend an evening (or several) looking at just one of these verses at a time. Don’t forget to ask your children the questions: Who? What? Where? Why? When?and How? Discuss with your family what each verse or story teaches about the character quality; and give vital application of how this quality can be applied to your family. Choose several verses to memorise together as a family during the month.

1466 egkrateia egkrateia eng-krat’-i-ah

from 1468; TDNT-2:339,196; n f

AV-temperance 4; 4

1) self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, esp. his sensual appetites)

Acts 24:25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance <1466>, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
Galatians 5:23 Meekness, temperance <1466>: against such there is no law.
2 Peter 1:6 And to knowledge temperance <1466>; and to temperance <1466> patience; and to patience godliness;
1467 egkrateuomai egkrateuomai eng-krat-yoo’-om-ahee

middle voice from 1468; TDNT-2:339,196; v

AV-can contain 1, be temperate 1; 2

1) to be self-controlled, continent

1a) to exhibit self-government, conduct, one’s self temperately

1b) in a figure drawn from athletes, who in preparing themselves for the games abstained from unwholesome food, wine, and sexual indulgence

1 Corinthians 7:9 But if they <1467> cannot contain <1467>, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
1 Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate <1467> in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.


1468 egkrathv egkrates eng-krat-ace’

from 1722 and 2904; TDNT-2:339,196; adj

AV-temperate 1; 1

1) strong, robust

2) having power over, possessed of (a thing)

3) mastering, controlling, curbing, restraining

3a) controlling one’s self, temperate, continent

Titus 1:8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate <1468>; {men: or, things}

4998 swfrwn sophron so’-frone

from the base of 4982 and that of 5424; TDNT-7:1097,1150; adj

AV-sober 2, temperate 1, discreet 1; 4

1) of a sound mind, sane, in one’s senses

2) curbing one’s desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate

1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober <4998>, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; {of good…: or, modest}
Titus 1:8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober <4998>, just, holy, temperate; {men: or, things}
Titus 2:2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate <4998>, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. {sober: or, vigilant}
Titus 2:5 To be discreet <4998>, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.



Proverbs 16:32  [He that is] slow to anger [is] better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

Proverbs 14:29 [He that is] slow to wrath [is] of great understanding: but [he that is] hasty of spirit exalteth folly. {hasty…: Heb. short of spirit}

Proverbs 15:18 A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but [he that is] slow to anger appeaseth strife.

James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion [is] vain.

1 Peter 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: