We’ve all experienced them—young and old alike—moments when frustration gets the better of us and we suddenly feel like we’re losing our minds.
Yelling at that someone for cutting you off.
Eating the entire jar of jellybeans.
Fighting on the playground.
Throwing a video game controller across the room.
This happened to my son a few weeks ago. He was playing on his device when all of the sudden I hear him yelling, “That’s SO delayed!”
One of the buttons wasn’t working and rather than being able to propel his character across a ravine, the character was jumping to his death. He tossed the thing on the floor and stormed out of the room. Not good.
When the system doesn’t work, we can’t turn the power off. We can’t pause for a snack break. We can’t always stop before falling off a cliff. In short, sometimes we lose. My son not only lost control, but he faced a consequence and lost his gaming system for a while.
And really … that sounds a lot like life too. Self-control is important. That’s why we’re taking an entire month talking about it. We define self-control like this: choosing to do what you should do not what you want to do. And this month, we’ll learn that self-control really has more to do with God than self.
Throughout the Bible, God talks about a lot about self-control. As a fruit of the Spirit, self-control is a response to the changes that He is making in our lives. On our own, we are helpless to control anything, but with God’s power we have an advantage. We have the power of the Holy Spirit living within us and are able to do what we should do even when it’s not what we want to do.
The book of Proverbs includes several verses where God gives us wisdom to practice for those moments when we’d rather do anything but show self-control. Proverbs are not merely wise sayings. Rather, they are part of God’s story where He leans into the world that He created and whispers to us: “Here’s how you should live.” Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at self-control through God’s lens and explore four truths that Solomon captured in the book of proverbs.
As we learn to reflect the character of God and respond to His love for us, self-control is crucial. After all, how we live speaks volumes to our friends, family, and even strangers we meet every day. Our ability to show self-control in the heat of a moment could make or break someone’s view of God.
Let’s all learn together this month to pause, select the right words and actions, and most importantly tap into God’s power to show some self-control.
Our memory verse for the month is Proverbs 25:28: “A person without self-control is like a city whose walls are broken through.” This verse can serve as a great reminder for kids (or adults) in those moments when they don’t want to show self-control.
For week one, we’ll look at Proverbs 25:28 – “A person without self-control is like a city whose walls are broken through.” In ancient times, the city without walls was exposed to harsh elements and cities that could conquer them. A lack of self-control exposes you to danger.
Bottom Line: God can give you the power to control yourself. We want kids to start the month realizing they can lean into God’s power to help them demonstrate self-control.
In week two, we’ll discover more about Proverbs 16:32 – “It is better to be patient than to fight. It is better to control your temper than to take a city.” God reminds us having patience and showing self-control is more important than winning an argument or conquering an entire city.
Bottom Line: Pause before you lose your temper. God wants us to know that to PAUSE and show patience even when it’s difficult is better than choosing to fight our way through life.
Our memory verse reminds us that when we show self-control it protects us from harm.
For week three, we’ll look at Proverbs 21:23 – “Those who are careful about what they say keep themselves out of trouble.” We want kids to understand the power of showing self-control with the words they say.
Bottom Line: Select your words carefully. When we lean into God’s power and select our words carefully, we may show others a glimpse of God’s grace, which could change them forever.
Our memory verse shows us that self-control is like surrounding ourselves with a wall of protection from consequences that could hurt us.
In week four, we’ll see what God says in Proverbs 25:16 – “If you find honey, eat just enough. If you eat too much of it, you will throw up.” You can have too much of a good thing. Here we are given a clear picture of what could happen if we don’t know when to stop.
Bottom Line: Know when to stop. When we are able to show self-control and stop what we’re doing, we might end up with too much of something. And having too much can cause us harm.
Our memory verse reminds us that when we ignore self-control, we leave ourselves open to responding in ways that could end up hurting us.
For the final week, we’ll look closer at Proverbs 4:23 – “Above everything else, guard your heart. Everything you do comes from it.” In order to show self-control, you need to fill your heart and minds with what will help you guard your heart. The apostle Paul gives us an idea of what some of those are in Philippians 4:8. We should think about what is noble, right, and pure, lovely and worthy of respect. When we fill our heart with these things, we’ll have a better chance of responding with self-control.
Bottom Line: Use God’s words to guide your thoughts. If we focus on God’s Word, when those frustrating moments come, we’ll be able to remember the truth of Scripture to help us show self-control.
With all of the Proverbs we discovered this month, we know that God can help us protect ourselves from the consequences of not demonstrating self-control.
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