What Does the Bible Say About Self-Control?

It’s called “the slap heard around the world”. This is the unfortunate incident where actor Will Smith walked onstage and slapped comedian Chris Rock across the face at the 94th Academy Awards.
Before the infamous slap, Chris Rock had made a “G.I Jane joke” on stage about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett, and her lack of hair. Will Smith was even seen laughing at the joke, but then seconds later Smith suddenly came out of his seat to walk on stage and slap Chris Rock live on stage.
Smith then goes back to his seat and proceeds to angrily shout expletives telling Chris Rock to “keep my wife’s name out your ***** mouth!!!”

So various questions arise from this incident: What gave Will Smith the audacity to think he could slap a person in front of millions of viewers and not face some kind of consequence for his actions? Where was his sense of restraint that he felt it necessary to exert physical violence on another person, live on stage, because of a joke? Where was Smith’s self-control in his actions, his words and his emotions?
What can we learn about self-control from the Will Smith and Chris Rock altercation?
Most importantly, what does the Bible say about self-control?

is defined as the following:
the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions, impulses and desires, especially in difficult situations;
the ability to not show your feelings or not do the things that your feelings make you want to do;
control or restraint of oneself or one’s actions, feelings, etc. 

We are all sinners and therefore nobody is perfect. There can be situations in our own life where we can lose control of ourselves or our own feelings. We can all sometimes let our anger get the best of us; we can allow our feelings to control us, instead of us controlling our emotions; we can allow temptation to control us, rather than practicing the ability to overcome temptation.
Therefore, self-control is an important quality that we all need to have and practice in our own life.
Self-control or self-discipline is one of the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23.

Self-control is essential in our life because this quality inhibits us from doing things we might regret later. Self-control prevents us from being a danger to others, including those who are innocent.
Self-control prevents us from resorting to violence or any action that would damage our own reputation as well as the reputation of others.
Self-control prohibits us from performing all forms of immoral and inappropriate actions.

Having self-control also reminds us that we do not have to be controlled by external forces or external circumstances. Therefore when we respond with self-control, it means that our reaction and response to various situations is measured, thoughtful, calm and wise.


What Does the Bible Say About Self-control?
The Bible says the following about self-control or the practice of self-discipline in our life…

Proverbs 25:28 says: A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls

Proverbs 16:32 says: Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

2 Peter 1:5-7 says: For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love

2 Timothy 1:7 says: For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Titus 1:8 says: But hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

Titus 2:12 says: Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,


In contrast to the actions of Will Smith, comedian Chris Rock interestingly showed restraint after being slapped. He did not retaliate an eye for an eye or with the same angry emotion and action as Will Smith. Rock actually tried to defuse the tense situation from escalating.

Many bad things can result from a lack of self-control such as: fits of rage, violence, arrogance, sexual immorality and many other vices and addictions.
Self-control is a characteristic that we should all have – especially for a Christian who is indwelt with the Holy Spirit because self-control is part of God’s own nature. Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

In any and every situation God is able to give us the ability to exercise self-control or self-discipline.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it

Practicing self-control may not always be easy to do. However with the help of the Holy Spirit we can exercise self-control every day in our life.


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