Lessons on Self-Control – Week of 3-19-17

This week: Self-Control

Key Points

  • Self-control is the discipline of delaying impulse or gratification for a greater purpose.
  • The ultimate goal of practicing self-control is to choose Christ over the things of the world.
  • The power to overcome temptation and practice self-control comes from God’s Spirit.

Family Memory Verse: Proverbs 25:28 “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”

Preschool Activity:
Before mealtime, shake out the sillies by dancing and wiggling together. Then take a deep, calming breath; exhale slowly. This tells your child that mealtime is a calm time when he should remain seated. Use this opportunity to explain what self-control means — choosing to do the right thing even when you don’t really want to. Afterward, be active again as you clean up together.
Grade school Activity:
To illustrate self-control for your child, take a small package of M&M’s or other bite-size candy and pour the contents into a bowl. Remove one piece of candy and place it in a second bowl.

Before dinner, offer your child a treat. Explain that he has a choice: He can either choose to eat the single candy now or he can choose to wait until after dinner and enjoy a full bowl of candy. Help him choose to wait. Later, after he’s finished the treat, ask your child if he feels it was worth the wait.

Explain to your child that self-control begins with controlling your “self.” Everyone has a “Mr. Self” or “Miss Self.” Mr. Self hates to be patient. Miss Self doesn’t think about tomorrow; she wants as much as she can get today. But God tells us that sometimes we have to wait. He knows that is hard for us, but He promises it will be worth it (Isaiah 30:18). Ask your child to think of times when self-control is difficult but worth the effort.

Tween Activity
Use this activity to help your tween learn how to recognize and overcome temptation. Over several days, have your tween jot down examples of tempting ads as he watches TV, passes billboards or notices in-store promotions. Let him know you will do the same. Your lists might include ads for junk food, must-see movies, fad clothing or anything else that’s enticing. Then get together with your child to share your lists.

Have your tween tell what was most tempting to him and why. Talk about how giving in to temptations now might cause us to give up something better in the future. Brainstorm examples such as spending money on candy instead of saving it for something more meaningful. Explain how self-control allows us to say “no” to something in the moment in favor of a greater “yes” in the future.

Once your tween understands how easy it is to be tempted, role-play the part of a friend who lacks self-control — someone who gossips, skips class or watches movies that he knows he shouldn’t. Ask your child how she will respond when encountering this behavior. How will she avoid the temptation to give in or take part? This exercise will help your child see how temptations are veiled in everyday interactions. End by reading 1 Corinthians 10:13 as an assurance that, even though temptation is all around us, God will help us exercise self-control.


Other verses to discuss this week:

Galatians 5:16-25
Titus 2:11-14
1 Peter 1:13-15
1 John 2:15-17