Self-control can take on many shapes. In one way, self-control is there to keep us in line; in other ways, it’s there to protect us from evil. Regardless of your reason for trying to control yourself, God created us to enjoy things but to never allow anything to control our lives.
In Galatians 5:22-23 it says:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.
This verse teaches us not to let ourselves get out of control because when that happens, it will become much harder to turn back. Take alcohol addiction, for example. Even though every kind of addiction is treated as an illness-at its core it can be described as a lack of self-control. It’s a chemical imbalance that prevents the person from knowing when it’s time to stop.
Once a person has lived as an alcoholic for long enough, it becomes much more difficult for them to reverse the habit. It’s not only mentally challenging, but it becomes physically dangerous for them to try and change.
If you’re struggling in any way with self-control, these bible verses about self-control should help you keep your mind in the right place so you can make the right decisions.
16 Helpful Bible Verses About Self Control
Proverbs 25:28 ESV
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
This verse speaks volumes. The scripture is saying that without self-control, you’re an easy target. There’s nothing protecting you from outside forces. Anyone who wants something from you can come right in and get it because you lack the ability to say no. Without self-control, we’re unable to live the type of stable lifestyle God wishes for us.
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
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.
We must always remember that everything that happens is God’s will. God planned it, and he continues to have a plan for us. So, when something happens that tests us, we should do what we think God would do in that situation. Self-control is all about behaving in a way that Jesus would. When we’re faced with temptation that threatens us, it’s on our shoulders whether or not we take it, but we need to choose carefully.
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
It’s within us to overcome temptation and accomplish everything we’ve ever dreamed of. This is all obtainable through God, but we need to recognize when we’re starting to lose control. As I mentioned earlier, once you lose control, it becomes much harder to gain it back.
2 Peter 1:5-7 ESV
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.
There’s a lot here, but the verse is telling us that self-control is merely part of the equation. We need so much more than self-control if we want to be the best version of ourselves. If we want to accomplish great things, we need to control the desire to head down a path, we don’t want to go.
Proverbs 16:32 ESV
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
This verse is fantastic, and it gives us a different perspective. Here we’re talking about self-control with emotions. Controlling your emotion is much more challenging than you think, but it says a lot about you as a person.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we are 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.
The word imperishable is used a lot in these verses, and it points to the fact that we only have one body. We’re not perishable, unless we make ourselves that way. Of course, we will all perish at some point, but it’s our responsibility to treat our bodies as God’s temple. We only rent this body, so we must be disciplined enough to take care of it, control it, and give it the right things.
1 Corinthians 9:27 ESV
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others, I myself should be disqualified.
This is the last portion of the previous verse, but it’s important that we cover this on its own. I discipline my body, so I practice what I preach. If I plan to tell others what they should do and act as a disciple of God, I need to do that myself. It’s so important that we as Christians live a “Godly” lifestyle because otherwise, we’re hypocrites.
1 Peter 4:7 ESV
The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
Be sober-minded and self-controlled for the sake of your prayers. It’s saying that being clear-minded is important because you’ll develop a better relationship with God, and you’ll be able to make better decisions.
Titus 1:8 ESV
But hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.
God wants us to be disciplined, and He challenges us to practice self-discipline in our everyday lives. Every time something comes between us and our self-control, it’s our responsibility to put up a wall around us to maintain an upright and holy lifestyle.
Titus 2:11-14 ESV
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.
This is similar to the previous one, but it teaches us that our role here on Earth is not to indulge in all the pleasures but rather to wait for the coming of our Savior. Of course, God has provided many of these pleasures to us, but we need to know when to let our self-control kick in so we can stop.
1 Peter 5:8 ESV
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
We need to be constantly on high alert of things that may challenge our discipline and self-control. As soon as we let our guard down, evil will enter our minds and cause us to make poor choices. Instead, be aware of this, watch out for it, and always prepare yourself for battle.
Romans 12:1-2 ESV
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.
– We are all God’s children, and with that comes responsibility. We’re here to spread the word of God, bring people closer to Him, and to live a life that glorifies Him. One of the best ways to do this is with our daily actions. But, if we’re not living a life for Christ, it will be clear in our actions. When you look at your body, at your face, and at your life, does it represent a Christ-like lifestyle?
1 Corinthians 9:25 ESV
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we are imperishable.
Here is the word imperishable again. Athletes exercise self-control for certain reasons because they’re looking to obtain something. But, what they seek to obtain is perishable. As a result, they’re creating a better self-image and developing habits that will help them control urges for the rest of their lives.
1 Corinthians 7:9 ESV
But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
This is an interesting verse and not always something that people would like to hear. We live in a sexualized world as nudity is normalized, sex is glorified, and it becomes more and more challenging for the younger generations to abstain until marriage. The scripture says, if you cannot control yourself, you should marry but implement practices to help you find self-control.
Galatians 5:21 ESV
Envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
God is clear in this verse, saying that these things will not grant you access to His kingdom. What will, is self-control. Self-control will keep you away from these things because you will be able to say no, you’ll be able to turn down an opportunity, and you’ll do so while still feeling satisfied because you know that the kingdom of God is yours.
Matthew 5:28 ESV
But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
This is another verse that can be hard for some people to process. It’s especially difficult in today’s society where it’s impossible to avoid how sexualized our culture has become. You can’t walk down the street without seeing a sign, billboard, or even a person who is exposing more skin than you’d like to see. Just remember, keep your mind pure and your heart in the right place, and you’ll be fine.
More Bible Verses About Self Control
Titus 2:12 ESV
Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
Galatians 5:23 ESV
Gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.
Romans 12:2 ESV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
1 Corinthians 13:4-5 ESV
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
1 Corinthians 7:5 ESV
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.
Philippians 4:8 ESV
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
James 1:19 ESV
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
Philippians 4:13 ESV
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Ephesians 6:12 ESV
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Titus 2:2 ESV
Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.
Proverbs 29:11 ESV
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
Titus 2:11-12 ESV
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.
Matthew 6:33 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 ESV
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we are imperishable.
James 3:1-18 ESV
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! …
1 Thessalonians 5:6 ESV
So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
1 Corinthians 6:18 ESV
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
Titus 2:6 ESV
Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.
Ephesians 5:18 ESV
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.
Job 31:1 ESV
I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?
1 Timothy 4:7 ESV
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness.
1 Corinthians 6:19 ESV
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.
Romans 12:1 ESV
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.
1 John 2:16 ESV
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.
Psalm 141:3 ESV
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
1 Peter 1:13 ESV
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Luke 4:1-13 ESV
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time…
Proverbs 18:21 ESV
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
James 1:19-20 ESV
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.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 ESV
Abstain from every form of evil.
1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.
Hebrews 4:15 ESV
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Proverbs 16:9 ESV
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
1 Corinthians 5:11 ESV
But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.
Romans 12:19 ESV
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
All bible verses from the English Standard Version of The Holy Bible