November 19, 2021

Self Control: Doing What’s Needed Even When You Don’t Want To

I pray regularly throughout the week with a few girlies. Pretty much every week, at some point, I ask them all for prayer in the same area—to be disciplined. I want to be disciplined in four reoccurring areas in my life:

  1. Getting to bed early so I can get up the next day and do my quiet time
  2. Food and exercise
  3. Spending my money
  4. Purity—not watching, thinking or doing stuff I shouldn’t be

I know that what I’m really asking for is prayer to be self-controlled.

The Battle for Self-Control

I pray this prayer every Monday morning with Jude Armstrong, and I hate that by Monday evening when I’m praying with Rachel Williamson, I’ve not been the person God wants me to be. There will have been a moment throughout the day when my will is done and not God’s. It was on one of these Monday evenings I shared with Rach that I’d been convicted over the last few weeks about the weight of my words and speaking without thought.

The next day, she sent me a link to Jackie Hill Perry’s TGC Conference address studying James 3 called ‘The Power of Words.’ Walking the dog and listening, I heard something that smacked me straight in the face:

“If the tongue influences the whole body, then a real element of growing in self-control in every area, is by establishing self-control in one… if you can’t control your mouth then you most likely can’t control nothing else”[1]

I’ve thought on this for weeks, and I started reading the book of James on repeat for my quiet times. I can’t get past James 3:2 without wincing—the verse is hounding me. Every day I start reading and I know it’s coming.

“For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.”

I’ve been meditating on this at the same time as asking myself, Where do I begin with this blog on self-control? For some people, their issue might be greed. For others, it might be lust or the love of money. The reality is, we all struggle in different areas. Where one person needs to show restraint and self-control in one area, another has to do so in a completely different area.

Coming back daily to James 3, I suddenly realised the obvious—we all have a tongue, and no matter who we are, we all struggle to control it at times. There isn’t a person reading this that can control their tongue 100% of the time. Which is why I want us to consider self-control from the perspective of James 3:1–13 and James 4:7–8. Specifically thinking about that one verse James 3:2. (Read James 3:1–13 and James 4:7–8).


This is part one in a series on self control. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks.