lack of self-control

©2020 dan bulkley |


In Part 1 of this series, we discussed how our sinful human nature desires to be in control, even of God. We too often want God to act and behave according to what we want, often ending up in a wrestling match with our Creator for control.

In Part 2, we explored how our desire for control over our circumstances is equally foolish.

Part 3 explored the sinful human desire for control as it relates to controlling and manipulating other people.

Now in Part 4, we will turn the microscope of control onto ourselves, addressing the root cause of our sinful desire to control the people and circumstances that are outside of ourselves.

lack of self-control

section 1

Trying to control others, circumstances, and even God is a symptom of fear luke 12:25-26 . The suspense we have is not a mere state of being but the cursed result of our sinful mindset and of some sort of rebellion from God deuteronomy 28:65-67 . We fear loss {death} and so try to guard against that loss through our own means/control matthew 16:24-25 , but such fear is only slavery hebrews 2:15 . When you are seeking to relieve your suspense by controlling what is not yours to control, in contrast to other control means, you despair to such things as giving up jeremiah 18:12 , isolating yourself proverbs 18:1 , and suicide ii samuel 17:23 revelation 9:6 revelation 9:20-21 , even in this one is actually resisting God rather than submitting to God’s control over you hebrews 12:9 . So controlling anything but your response to others, circumstances and especially God is actually an indicator of doubt in the Lord and rebellion to His working His will in your life proverbs 16:3 proverbs 3:5-6
psalm 37:3-7 matthew 6:27-34 . We are not to be seeking control of anyone/thing else as our example in Christ is not to control but instead to serve; which requires self-control philippians 2:5-8 .

supporting scriptures

luke 12:25-26

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

deuteronomy 28:65-67

Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. 66 You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. 67 In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!”—because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see.

matthew 16:24-25

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

hebrews 2:15

and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

jeremiah 18:12

But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’”

proverbs 18:1

An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

ii samuel 17:23

When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.

revelation 9:6

During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

revelation 9:20-21

The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

hebrews 12:9

Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!

proverbs 16:3

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

psalm 37:3-7

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

matthew 6:27-34

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

philippians 2:5-8

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

my notes:

section 2

When you do not have self-control, you have abandoned the only control God has given you to defend yourself proverbs 25:28 in the war of your soul i peter 2:11 . The lack of insight into one’s self clouds one’s vision matthew 7:5 into how best to help others matthew 15:14 , make the most of circumstantial opportunities with godliness ephesians 5:15-16 and serve the Lord psalm 32:9-10 ; for one who is not self-controlled is blinded in their foolishness proverbs 29:11 and enslaved by their own brute impulses ii peter 2:12 and nonchalant rebellion i thessalonians 4:3-8 .

supporting scriptures

proverbs 25:28

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.

i peter 2:11

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.

matthew 7:5

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

matthew 15:14

Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

ephesians 5:15-16

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

psalm 32:9-10

Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.

10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.

proverbs 29:11

Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.

ii peter 2:12

But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.

i thessalonians 4:3-8

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.

my notes:

section 3

Attempting to control others, trying to control God, and even striving to control your circumstances shows that one has lost self-control and have replaced it with immoral, evil pursuits of ungodly control deuteronomy 18:14 . Beware! Those who do not control themselves naturally seek to gain control over anything else ii timothy 3:2-6 ii peter 2:19 . If you control yourself you have little time, energy or heart to control others as you are too busy i thessalonians 4:11-12 ii thessalonians 3:11 controlling your own heart for the glory of the Lord, the benefit of others and to the benefit of your own soul.

supporting scriptures

deuteronomy 18:14

The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so.

ii timothy 3:2-6

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires...

ii peter 2:19

They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”

i thessalonians 4:11-12

and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

ii thessalonians 3:11

We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.

my notes:

section 4

One who does not have self-control is a slave titus 3:3 romans 6:11-23 i corinthians 6:12 as that one is preoccupied with all they can’t control: how others treat me, how circumstances “should be”, what God “should” be doing job 36:21 . Rather than busying themselves with the one thing God has granted for us to control i peter 1:13 ii thessalonians 3:11 : how I treat others, what I do in my given circumstances, and making every effort to please the Lord i john 5:1-5 . The one who has control of himself is truly free to benefit himself and others psalm 119:45 luke 9:23-24 .

supporting scriptures

titus 3:3

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.

my notes:

romans 6:11-23

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

my notes:

i corinthians 6:12

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.

job 36:21

Beware of turning to evil, which you seem to prefer to affliction.

i peter 1:13

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

ii thessalonians 3:11

We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.

i john 5:1-5

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

psalm 119:45

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.

my notes:

luke 9:23-24

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

my notes:

don’t forget parts 1, 2, 3 and 5 of this series, available separately