Lessons on Self Control – Week of 3-26-17


These Bible stories are written with the theme of self-control. Choose one that is appropriate for your children. Before reading aloud, take a few minutes to review the story. If the Bible passage is too complex for your kids, paraphrase the story yourself or use information from the Overview.


Lesson 1 – Isaac digs wells
Read Genesis 26:17-22 in part, in whole, or read the Overview (whichever is best for your kids). The Message paraphrase is also helpful at times. Follow the link and type in your verses at the top.
Isaac’s servants had moved into a new territory. Part of moving into new territory involved finding water for the flocks they were caring for. As Isaac’s men dug wells, the herdsman living in the new territory argued with them and kept claiming the wells as their own.
Instead of fighting back and fighting for the wells that were rightfully theirs, Isaac and his people just kept moving on and digging another well, until the herdsmen of Gerar left them alone. These men exercised self-control and didn’t fight for their rights. Isaac and his servants set a good example for all of us of what to do if someone picks a fight with you. The best thing to do is to walk away and keep the peace.
Questions for discussion:
-What do other kids do when they want to pick a fight?
-How about your brother/sister?
-How do you feel when someone says that something you own is his/hers?
-What happened to Isaac’s servants?
-What did they do?
-How many wells did they have to dig before the herdsman of Gerar didn’t bother them?
-What is the best thing to do if someone picks a fight with you?


Lesson 2 – Who needs self-control?
Read Titus 2:1-12 in part, in whole, or read the Overview. As you read this passage, ask the kids to listen for the word “self-control.” Ask them to raise their hands when they hear it.
Self-control is saying “no” to ungodliness (behavior that does not please God) and worldly passions (allowing things to be so important to you that they contribute to sinful behavior). The Bible indicates that everyone is to be self-controlled. When we choose to have the Holy Spirit live inside of us, God helps us to maintain self-control. Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Ask God to help you remember to ask for help when you are tempted to lose self-control.
Questions for discussion:
-Can you think of something you do that does not please God?
-Have you ever wanted something so much that you had a tantrum when you were told you couldn’t have it?
-What is self-control?
-Who needs to be self-controlled?
-Why do we need to be self-controlled?
-When are you most tempted to lose self-control?


Lesson 3 – Expressing anger hastily
Read Proverbs 29:20, Ecclesiastes 7:9, Proverbs 29:11, and Proverbs 14:17 in part, in whole, or read the Overview.
Most of us have said or done something foolish and later regretted it. As you read the Bible verses listed above, notice a word that is used in all of these verses; the word is fool.
Traditionally, the word fool was defined as “one without spiritual wisdom; wicked person.” When we let the devil tempt us with losing self-control, this causes us to do things that are not righteous.
Normally we think of wickedness as something mean or bad that has been planned out ahead of time, but we can actually do wicked things when we say or do things without thinking. In fact, we can hurt people more by careless words and actions than if we planned to hurt them. Matthew 12:36 says that all of us will have to give an account to God for every careless word we speak. The good news is that God will help us with self-control when we ask Him. Take time to pray – encourage one of the kids to talk with God and pray together.
Questions for discussion
-Have you ever said or done anything and later you wished you hadn’t?
-What does the Bible say about doing or saying things without thinking first?
-What does it mean to speak in haste?
-When are you tempted to speak without thinking first?
-What does it mean to be provoked in your spirit?
-What does it mean to give full vent to your anger?
-How can you stop yourself from being foolish?


Lesson 4 – Jesus fights temptation
Read Luke 4:1-13 in part, in whole, or read the Overview.
The Bible says Satan tempted Jesus for forty days. During this time, Jesus did not eat. Satan tempted Jesus with food, power and the opportunity to show off His power and to honor Himself instead of God. When Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus used Bible verses to tell Satan why He wasn’t going to do what he asked Him to do.
The Bible also tells us Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit, which means God helped him be self-controlled. It is the same for you and I. If we try to fight Satan and temptation on our own, it is difficult, and perhaps impossible. If we ask God to fill us with His Holy Spirit to help us fight Satan and temptation, we can be strong and victorious like Jesus.
Questions for discussion
-Tell me about a time when you were really, really hungry.
-How badly do you want to eat when you are just starving?
-Can you imagine how hungry Jesus must have been after not eating for 40 days?
-If you had not eaten for 40 days and you had the power to turn stone into bread, would you?
-Jesus had all the power in the world and Satan tempted him to show it off, but Jesus didn’t. How did Jesus resist temptation?
-How can we use Scripture to help us maintain self-control?


Activity Ideas 

Idea #1 – A self-control poster

1) Help your children draw or trace a picture of a lion on the poster.
2) Next have your children place their hands over the lion and trace around their hands.
3) Write the memory verse of your choice on the poster.
4) Use the poster as a reminder that the best way to defeat Satan when he tries to devour us is to pray.
5) Review the questions for discussion below to enhance your children’s understanding of the concepts.

Throughout the day, encourage your children to clasp their hands together tightly when they feel like they are going to lose self-control. Have them come to you so you can help them pray. Explain that Satan is strong like a lion, but we can be stronger than Satan when we go to God for help. Just as the tracing of their hands covers the lion, they can be stronger than the temptation Satan sends when they are full of the Holy Spirit. Tell your children that putting their hands together will help remind them to talk to God and ask for His help in maintaining self-control.

Questions for discussion
-Could you win in a fight against a real lion?
-Who could help you and how?
-Who does the Bible say is like a lion?
-Why does the Bible say you need to be alert?
-How does Satan try to devour you?
-How can you beat Satan when he is acting like a lion?


Idea #2 – Giggle game

Directions – physical activity
To play the giggle game, name one person as “it.” The other family members can do anything they want to make this person laugh, except touch them. After the person who is “it” laughs, another person takes a turn being “it” until all family members or players have had a chance.After the game, talk about self-control. Explain that it is usually okay to laugh in life, but there are times when we shouldn’t laugh. We should not laugh when someone is hurt or sad, during quiet time at school or church, or if they are somewhere where they have been asked to be quiet. The following questions will help to clarify this for young children.
Questions for discussion
-Can you think of some times in life when we shouldn’t laugh?
-Eating is fun, like laughing is fun, but there is a time to eat and a time to stop eating. When is it time to stop eating?
-Playing is fun. But when Mom or Dad say it is time to stop, it can be tempting to continue.
-When is it time to stop playing?
-Chasing around and being silly is fun, but there is a time and a place for silliness.
-When is okay to be silly?
-When is it not okay to be silly?
-How can you have self-control in these situations?
Key concepts
There are times when we need to obey the instructions of parents and stop doing what seems to be fun. Even though it is tempting to do what feels good instead of stopping, we can ask God to help us be self-controlled and to choose to stop what we are doing.
Relevant Scripture
Ecclesiastes 3:1,4 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heaven… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”