Brother Michel Lankford

Question: What are some scriptures that talk about self-control?

To be “Self-Controlled” is a FRUIT of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26). That means that self-control is a RESULT that will occur when we allow the Holy Spirit to rule over us instead of being dominated by our sinful nature.

To be self-controlled means that you are MODERATE and NOT extreme or excessive in anything. It means that you are balanced and temperate.

A person who lacks self-control is like an unprotected city with no defenses (Proverbs 25:28). In other words, a person with no self-control is unprepared and has no defenses against his own worst impulses. He will eventually destroy Himself. That’s why a person who knows how to control themselves is considered greater than one who conquers a city (Proverbs 16:32). That’s because, without self-control, any gain or power that you established will be short-lived, but if you have good self-control, you can build on successes and continue growing.

Self-control and self-discipline are REQUIREMENTS to be considered a leader among God’s people. In other words, you are NOT considered a LEGITIMATE leader among God’s people unless the fruit of self-control is clearly evident in your life (Matthew 7:15-20; Titus 1:7-8).

You Build Self-Control by Practice

It also means to temporarily deny one’s needs or wants to achieve things of Eternal Value. For example, one might set aside some occasions to temporarily fast from food, drink, entertainment, or other worldly pleasures, for the sake of prayer, or to gain victory over certain temptations or circumstances (e.g. 1 Corinthians 7:5; cf. 1 Timothy 4:7). Any such sacrifice, albeit a temporary self-denial, would require self-control and self-denial to successfully achieve.

It is closely related to self-discipline. In other words, to intentionally train and discipline oneself to achieve a defined purpose or goal (e.g. 1 Corinthians 9:25-27). Paul the Apostle for example openly stated that it was his goal to exercise self-control and to discipline himself in EVERYTHING; because he wanted to bring every aspect of his life in obedience to Jesus Christ; because after having preached the gospel to other people, he did not want to find himself to be disqualified from the Kingdom.

Self-Control IS a Salvation Issue

Why did Paul write and speak in this way? It’s because the Apostle Paul understood the Kingdom Dynamic that a person MUST HAVE self-control, to be considered a true citizen of God’s Kingdom. Self-control is one of the FRUITS that a true Kingdom Citizen MUST HAVE in order to be GUARANTEED entry into the Heavenly Kingdom (2 Peter 1:3-11). Both Paul and Peter understood this crucial factor to be true. They remembered the words of the Messiah (Matthew 3:10; Matthew 8:12; Matthew 21:43; Luke 14:16–24).

This is an aspect of life that many modern-day Christians MISS almost completely. What is the “New Testament,” GUARANTEE” and the ASSURANCE that you are going to Heaven?

  • Contrary to popular misguided opinion, accepting Jesus Christ, and declaring Him to be your Lord and Savior is NOT the GUARANTEE of going to Heaven. Accepting Christ, and declaring Him as Lord is a crucial FIRST step. It is the crucial STARTING line of the race, but it is NOT the FINISH line of the race. Jesus clearly said that in the end there will be MANY who call Jesus their Lord, but they will NOT enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21-23).
  • Contrary to popular misguided opinion, being active in the GIFTS of the Holy Spirit is NOT a GUARANTEE of going to Heaven. The gifts are important. They do have a place, to help individuals and congregations make progress, and grow. However, being active in the GIFTS of the Holy Spirit is NOT the GUARANTEE of going to Heaven. Jesus plainly said that on the future Day of Judgment, there will be MANY people whom He will REJECT, because as GIFTED as they will have been, they DID NOT do the “Father’s Will,” and they will have practiced lawlessness (Matthew 7:21-23). So, according to Jesus Himself, on the future Day of Judgment, there will be MANY people who declare Jesus to be their Lord, and who operate in the GIFTS of the Holy Spirit, whom He will REJECT. They will NOT be going to Heaven, because regardless of how gifted they are, they will have refused to do the Will of the Father, and they will have practiced what He considers to be LAWLESSNESS.

Based on what Messiah plainly said, both Paul and Peter wrote as they did because they KNEW that they could LOSE their place in God’s Kingdom if they did not cooperate with God and produce the Fruit of the Kingdom (which includes self-control). They KNEW that they had to cooperate with God and develop the fruit of self-control in their lives. This is WHY Peter wrote as he did. Please don’t miss this:

As it is written: Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:10–11, ESV)

So, in summary, what is the True GUARANTEE of going to Heaven, even according to the “New Testament?”

  • You must be Born-Again of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-7; cf. Ezekiel 11:19-20; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Philippians 2:13; Romans 8:11).
  • You must come to the Father through Messiah (John 6:37; John 14:6).
  • You must come to the Father as a little child, and let God re-raise you and train you as His Little Child (Matthew 18:1-3).
  • Your Righteousness and Obedience to God and Messiah MUST be BETTER than the scribes and Pharisees obeyed (Matthew 5:17-20; cf. 1 John 3:7-10).
  • You MUST DO the Will of the Heavenly Father (Matthew 7:21).
  • You MUST NOT practice Lawlessness, of course (Matthew 7:22-23; Matthew 13:41-42; Matthew 24:12-13).
  • You MUST Practice Biblical Holiness. Even, Paul, the apostle said so (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; cf. Hebrews 12:14).
  • You MUST overcome evil by doing what is good in God’s sight (Romans 12:21; Revelation 21:7-8)
  • You MUST GROW, by cooperating with God and producing the FRUIT of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26; 2 Peter 1:3-11). Developing the fruit of self-control is part of that whole thing.

In the end, believers who truly enter the Kingdom of Heaven will go there because God has truly CONVERTED us and our character so that we truly BELONG in Heaven. Our character will have been transformed so much, that our behaviors will progressively MATCH the attitudes and behaviors that truly BELONG in God’s household. The living evidence of that will be the FRUIT of the Holy Spirit (including self-control), and that we OVERCOME the evil sinful world, by progressively doing what God says is Good. That is NOT merely MY opinion. That is what the “New Testament” physically teaches. I humbly challenge you to read it, believe it, and apply it to yourself.

Don’t take my word for it. Review what Messiah said is required and what the “New Testament” writers clearly wrote. I challenge you to judge yourself (1 Corinthians 11:31; 2 Corinthians 13:5).

Based on what these New Testament passages openly declare, are you truly on track to be a Child of God and a citizen of God’s Eternal Kingdom?

Thank you for your kind attention.


Brother Michel Lankford