20 Bible Verses about Self-Control — Bible Lyfe (2023)

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. It is the ability to control our thoughts, emotions, and actions.

There are many factors that can contribute to a loss of self-control. For some people, it may be caused by stress, tiredness, or hunger. Others may simply have never learned how to effectively manage their impulses and emotions.

Whatever the cause, a loss of self-control can have serious consequences. People who struggle with self-control often have feelings of hopelessness and despair. It can lead to harmful behaviors like substance abuse, overeating, gambling, and even violence. It can also damage personal relationships and hinder career advancement.

Fortunately, there is help available for those who want to regain control over their lives. With the help of the Holy Spirit and guidance from God's word, it is possible to learn how to manage impulses and make better choices.

The Bible tells us that we can have self-control by trusting and depending on God (Proverbs 3:5-6), being led by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), and walking in love (Galatians 5:13-14). When we practice self-control, we are living in obedience to God’s Word. This pleases God and brings about His blessing in our lives (Luke 11:28: James 1:25).

If you want to have self-control according to the Bible, begin by depending on God. Pray for His help and ask Him to give you strength. Then allow yourself to be led by the Spirit and walk in love. As you do these things, you will please God and enjoy His blessings in your life!

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Self-Control is a Gift from God

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Titus 2:11-14

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Bible Verses for Practicing Self-Control

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Romans 12:1-2

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

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1 Corinthians 9:25-27

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Galatians 5:13-16

For you were called to freedom, brothers.

Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Titus 1:8

But hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

1 Peter 4:7-8

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

2 Peter 1:5-7

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.

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James 1:12

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Bible Verses about Controlling Anger

Ecclesiastes 7:9

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.

Proverbs 16:32

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

Proverbs 29:11

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

James 1:19-20

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Bible Verses about Controlling Sexual Desire

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person osins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 7:1-5

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.

For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

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Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

2 Timothy 2:22

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Bible Verses for Resisting Temptation

Proverbs 25:28

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.

1 Corinthians 10:13

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.

A Prayer for Self-Control

Heavenly Father,

I come to You today asking for strength and self-control.

Thank you for the reminder in your word that says to be strong and of good courage, for You are with me.

I need the power of your Holy Spirit to work in me so that I will not give in to temptation but will overcome evil with your goodness.

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Help me to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.

Help me to endure the trials and temptations that I face, so that I might glorify you with my life.

In the precious name of Jesus I pray, Amen.


What are some Bible verses about self-control? ›

Bible Verses About Self-Control With Character
  • 2 Peter 1:5–9. Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:19–22. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. ...
  • 2 Timothy 1:5–7.

What is self-control in Galatians 5 23? ›

In verse 23, Paul says that one of the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit is “self-control.” Literally, the “restraint of one's emotions, impulses, or desires.” 1.

What does God teach us about self-control? ›

Galatians 5:22-24 tells us that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. We must fix our eyes on Jesus, asking Him to fill us with His Spirit. When we are full of and function in the Spirit, we will see fruit.

What does Jesus say about self-control? ›

In the person of Jesus, “the grace of God has appeared . . . training us” — not just “to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions,” but “to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:11–12).

How do you grow self-control biblically? ›

Let's talk about it:
  1. Mindfulness: Know yourself to help identify areas where you struggle with self-control. ...
  2. Positive Influences: Surround yourself with supportive friends. ...
  3. Making a Plan: Set achievable goals and break them into smaller, manageable steps. ...
  4. Relying on the Holy Spirit: Pray for guidance and strength.
May 19, 2023

What is Proverbs 18 21? ›

ESV Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. NIV The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Who in the Bible had self-control? ›

Nehemiah showed self-control and didn't fight back. Instead, he stationed some of his men to be guards while the others worked. Nehemiah knew that God would protect them. He acted calmly and with self-control.

What is a quote about self-control? ›

Quotes about Self Control to Make You Stronger

Even a little self-control can save you a lot of time, energy and errors.” “Impatience leads to losing self control, to regret, and to unhappiness.” “You cannot always control circumstances and situations, but you can learn to control you reactions and attitude.”

What is the fruit of self-control Bible verse? ›

Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

What is biblical self-control? ›

What Scripture Says About Self-Control. To exercise self-control is to discipline ourselves, set boundaries, and rule over our actions. A lack of self-control, then, leads to the free reign of fleshly, worldly patterns that end up exercising control over us.

What is Proverbs 16 32? ›

Proverbs 16:32 in Other Translations

32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. 32 Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.

What are 3 benefits of self-control? ›

Self-control can enhance your decision making capacity. Self-control can help you curtail your high temperaments/anger rate. Self-control plays a major role in your emotional happiness. Self-control can help stabilise and solve trust issues in a relationship or marriage.

What is Proverbs 29 11? ›

A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back. This verse is a straight kick to the stomach for me as I reminisce all the times I spoke all that I felt without any type of filter. I'm sure many of you reading this can relate.

What is the power of self-control? ›

Research indicates that the average person spends three to four hours a day resisting desires. Plus, self-control is used for other things as well, such as controlling thoughts and emotions, regulating task performance and making decisions. So most people use their willpower many times a day, all day.

What does Christianity say about self-control? ›

We display our God and his gospel when we are self-controlled. Self-control is one part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), so exercising it means reflecting the Spirit of God.

Where in Proverbs does it talk about self-control? ›

Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. – Proverbs 16:32. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. – Titus 2:6.

Where in the Bible does it say a man without self-control? ›

ESV A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. NIV Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.


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