Self-control is extremely important (2 Peter 1:5-9). If you can’t control yourself, you open the door for other people to control you. Proverbs 25:28 says, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down without walls.” In ancient times, if a city did not have a wall, it would be easy for enemies to attack and conquer it.
If you don’t learn how to control things like your desires, temper, thoughts, language and impulses when you are young, it will be difficult for you when you eventually have to do it as an adult. If you can learn to control yourself early, you will be happier, healthier and more successful.
Another word for self-control is discipline. It takes discipline to be successful in anything in life. From working at a job to your walk with God to living a healthy lifestyle—it all takes discipline and self-control. As God’s people, we are advised to subdue our bodies and control them, instead of letting them control us (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). Self-control is so important that it is even listed as one of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:23).
How can you learn to control yourself and gain discipline? By taking a few minutes and using the STEM technique:
Make a decision
If you start to become angry with someone: stop. Next, take a few minutes to calm down and evaluate the situation. Pray for guidance and for God’s help to maintain your composure. Consider your next step carefully. Analyze the negative and positive consequences of what you are about to do or say. Is the reply you want to make going to escalate the situation, or is it going to defuse it? Is there a better reply that would calm things down (Proverbs 15:1)? After careful thought and prayer, it’s now time to make your decision.
By reading your Bible and forcing yourself to use the STEM technique, you can discipline yourself. It’s not easy to learn to control yourself, and even once you learn how, it still takes hard work and prayer to continue doing it. If you do lose control, pray for help and forgiveness while striving to do better next time. Self-control is one of the most valuable traits you can learn. If you learn to control your words and actions, you will be like a strong, well-defended city, rather than a “city broken down without walls.”