Self Control: I Could Never Give Up That!


The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23a

Thought for the Day:

By God’s power, we are empowered. Humanly speaking, this is impossible. But with God, everything is possible.

Self-control is hard. We don’t like to deny ourselves. We don’t think it’s necessary. We make excuses and declare, “That’s nice for someone else, but I could never give up __________________!” (fill in the blank: soda, sugar, cupcakes, alcohol, smoking, etc.)

If we’re relying on ourselves, that excuse may be true. But there’s another level to self-control that too few of us find. Jesus says,

Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven… it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. – Matthew 19:23-24

In other words, Jesus was saying that it’s hard for someone who is satisfied with the things of this world to deny themselves. It’s hard for someone who is rich with excess to deny themselves and be humble enough to admit, “I must give this up.” When the disciples heard this teaching, they were confused until Jesus clarified,

Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible. – Matthew 19:26b

We tend to think of this verse as saying, “With God, all good things are possible! With God, all lavish things are possible!” But if you study this verse in context, it actually means, “With human effort alone, it can seem impossible to deny yourself. With human effort alone, it can seem impossible to make sacrifices. With human effort alone, it can seem impossible to have self-control. But with God, all sacrificial things are possible. With God, all self-control is possible.”

I believe this one vital shift in our thinking can help us shift from feeling deprived to feeling empowered. Try this little exercise at home today: Open up your fridge or your pantry and look at all the options. Say to yourself, “I’m not deprived of an unhealthy option. I’m empowered to make a healthy choice.”

By God’s power, we are empowered. Humanly speaking, this is impossible. But with God, everything is possible.

Rather than giving in to the foods we crave, we can have God’s self-control to make completely different decisions — decisions for health, decisions for renewed energy, decisions for confidence and peace. Most importantly, decisions that honor both our bodies and God!

Dear Lord, I don’t want to be caught making the statement, “I could never give up that!” Instead, I want to believe that self-control is possible because of Your strength. I want each of my decisions today to be made from a heart full of confidence and peace in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Excerpted with permission from Made to Crave Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst, copyright Zondervan.

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Your Turn

We cannot conquer self control long-term in our own human effort. We’re just too fallible! But with God everything is possible. We all acquit ourselves for personal failures or weaknesses or give up trying because continuing is too difficult. What excuses are you making? What do you need to quit? Join the conversation on our blog. We would love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily


Lysa TerKeurst

Lysa TerKeurst is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the New York Times best-selling author of Uninvited, The Best Yes, Unglued, Made to Crave, and 16 other books. Lysa was recently awarded the Champions of Faith Author Award and has been published in multiple publications such as Focus on the Family and CNN online. Additionally, she has appeared on the Today Show as one of the leading voices in the Christian community. Each year, Lysa is a featured keynote presenter at more than 40 events across North America, including the Women of Joy Conferences and the Catalyst Leadership Conference. She writes from her sticky farm table and lives with her family in North Carolina. Connect with her at or on social media @LysaTerKeurst.

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