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Today’s Truth

[Jesus Christ] gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good (Titus 2:14 NIV).

Friend to Friend

Our family adopted a sweet new puppy who is melting our hearts. Her playful curiosity keeps us laughing every day. Yet the challenges of house training and chewing demand supervision to keep her—and the house—in one piece!

To provide a safe space for our puppy, I set up a pen with a latching gate. We added a soft blanket and toys to keep her comfy and entertained. It seemed the perfect place to play when we couldn’t give her our full attention.

Yet I soon realized the pen wasn’t so perfect after all. Its flimsy latches were no match for an active puppy who wanted out! No matter how I tried to secure the gate, she pushed through or climbed right over the top to freedom. Needless to say, the pen is now in storage and a sturdy dog crate stands in its place.

Sometimes the “gates” I place around myself don’t hold firm when I need them, either.

Impulsive spending wreaks havoc on my budget.

I binge on caffeine as a substitute for sleep.

People-pleasing turns my priorities and schedule upside-down.

Screens capture far too much time and attention.

My resolve doesn’t hold up to stress, fatigue, or temptations that come my way.

Maybe you, too, know the limits of your will and the battle to master your impulses. The Bible says we show self-control when we obey His Word instead of doing our own thing. Self-control takes authority away from the enemy, our flesh, and other people and submits itself to God.

Yet how do we show self-control when temptation feels too strong? How do we obey God when He doesn’t make sense? How do we move through overwhelming fear? Good news—our compassionate God gives all we need!

Titus 2:11-14 reveals God’s promises to those who want to live self-controlled lives for Him:

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the 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 wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

Did you catch the key to self-control? It’s not our willpower but the grace of God Himself.

First, God’s grace offers salvation to you and me. We’re set free from sin’s power. We receive the “light of life,” so we never have to walk in darkness again (John 8:12). Old habits no longer define us because “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). God takes the throne of our hearts as our King.

Next, God equips us to live by His Word. We receive His Spirit, who “is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us” (1 Corinthians 2:12). He clears away the confusion of how to apply the Bible to our lives, “explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words” (v. 13). As the Word is made alive in us, we bear the fruit of self-control. Our thoughts, words, and actions align with God’s ways and will.

Finally, we’re graced with the family of God: “a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14). We challenge each other to keep the faith. When temptation calls, we help each other listen to the Shepherd. In life’s sufferings, we hold each other up. We “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” as we grow in self-control, together (Hebrews 10:24).

Do you long to be responsive to God instead of reactive to your circumstances? Are you crushed under a burden of guilt? Go to God for a fresh start. Immerse yourself in the transforming truth of the Word. Reach out to others so you can follow Him side by side. Let God’s grace renew every part of your life.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, I wake up eager to battle my weaknesses, but before day’s end, I fall once more. Forgive me for choosing my way over yours. Help me to know your Word and how to live by it. Provide a wise and godly friend to walk the journey of faith by my side. Bear the fruit of self-control in me. I want to love and follow You with my whole heart.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Name one struggle or temptation that consistently gets the best of you.
What would change if you depended on God’s grace for victory?
Who could offer encouragement in your faith struggles today?

Click on comment and share in one word an area of your life you need prayer. Then pray for the name above yours.

More from the Girlfriends

Our kids fight their own battles for self-control. You grieve the hurts they suffer for their choices, and you long for them to trust in Jesus. Joanna and her husband, Rob, created Powerful Prayers for Your Son and Powerful Prayers for Your Daughter to help you pray for your child in the joys and struggles they face. These targeted prayers invite God’s power to work in their lives as they grow.

(As an Amazon Associate, Girlfriends in God earns A SMALL COMMISSION from qualifying purchases using this paid link.)

© 2022 by Joanna Teigen. All rights reserved.

46 Responses to “The Battle for Self-Control”

  1. Carola says:

    Es increíble, cómo el señor nuestro.nos ayuda a encontrar la respuesta a todo.gracias por la palabra de hoy.sin Dios nada haríamos de bueno.el nos da el dominio propio .a cada debilidad que tenemos para salir airosos..

    Muy agradecida señor.

  2. Sarah says:

    Please pray for victory over too much screen time, impulsive spending & gossipping. Thanks, sisters

  3. Sherri says:

    Anxiety

    • Sherri, it can be so difficult to control our fearful thoughts and the ways we act on them. Praying for God’s peace to fill you as he helps you trust Him in all you’re going through.

  4. Claudia says:

    Judging instead of loving my unsaved husband.

    • Lord, you know Claudia’s struggle in waiting for her husband to know and love You! Fill her with compassion and patience, and refresh her confidence that you are working even now in ways she cannot see yet. Thank you for holding her close to yourself. Amen.

  5. Claudia says:

    love not judge my unsaved husband

  6. Sharon says:

    Total trust in God the Father

    • Yes–when our challenges go on and on or the future seems uncertain, it can be difficult to rest in God’s promises to love and care for us. Praying with you for full faith that God has it all under control! God bless you, Sharon.

  7. Carol says:

    Thanks, Joanna
    This devotional writing was a direct “hit” for me.
    And sister Sarah, I’m a sister of understanding!
    “Lord Jesus: we are so sorry for being drawn in to the temptations of our modern world that take away our meditation time and conversations with You. Help us, to lean into your strength; and guard us from things that would tarnish our relationship with You. Lord, you know how weak our flesh is….Forgive us, for our faults. We love You. Help us to begin again with a new refreshed spirit. In Jesus blessed name, Amen”

  8. Cindy says:

    Please pray for victory over anger and pride toward my husband.

    • Cindy, how beautiful that the Spirit is calling you into a more humble, gentle love toward your husband. Praying for God to grace you with longsuffering patience, strength to minister to him, and new tenderness toward one another. He gives us a filling of love that we could never generate in our own strength. May God bless you both and do more in your marriage than you can ask or imagine!

  9. Bernadette says:

    Good morning. Your message today came at a perfect time. Almost as if God sent it to me through you! I am fighting the battle of gluttony. My flesh is so weak. The pounds keep piling on yet I don’t have the willpower to put the donuts, cake etc down. I am at a very unhealthy weight that has affected my quality of life. Thank you for your prayers.

    • Oh Lord, thank you for Bernadette and her heart’s desire to overcome in the battle with overeating! Thank you for her humble heart that can openly share her struggle and her need for your power in her life. Bless her with strength to resist the pull of food. Let her find all her soul’s needs and desires to be met in Jesus alone. Help her to grow in health and lead her into your abundant life. We praise you for your love that changes everything! Amen.

    • Praying with you, Patience, for God to set you free from the pull of alcohol today. Lord, help Patience to know your mercy and your power in her life! Give her victory in turning from alcohol and turning to you for all she needs. Heal her heart from pain and worry and let her know your comfort. Provide for her needs and help her to trust you are with her every moment. Be her source of peace and life, dear Father. Amen.

  10. Dottie says:

    I have very bad insecurity and I need prayer for that. My daughter n law says I need to find my worth but she doesn’t know how to tell me to do that. Please pray for me. Thank you! 🙂

    • Dottie, I know the struggle to take my eyes off of my own weaknesses and past failures and keep them on God. In Him, you are chosen and cherished. In his love he can’t take his eyes off of you and he loves to hear your voice calling to him. Nothing you have done or will do with hold him back from loving you. I pray that you can find true peace as He makes you confident in His promises toward you. Praying for fresh confidence as His beloved daughter! Amen.

  11. Renee says:

    Family relationships

    • Renee, there’s nothing like family relationships to stir our stress and fears, and to shine a light on our weaknesses! Praying that Spirit will guide your words and heart attitudes toward your loved ones. That he will give you patience to endure unkindness, godly wisdom to lead as a peacemaker, and strength to love when it feels so, so hard. And praying God make Himself known in your home. Amen.

  12. Barbara says:

    Graciousness

    Father, thank you for the power and life of your word! Your word inspires, convicts and corrects. I pray now for Patience, give her all that she needs regarding alcohol. I/we don’t know the details, but you know all things, so I plead with you right now on her behalf and ask that you remind her that she is and will always be forgiven, may she also easily forgive herself, and that she is loved extravagantly. One day at a time Patience, one day at a time, in the mighty, powerful, matchless name of Jesus, Amen.

  13. Robin says:

    Worry for all things (surgery, recovery w/o any help, husband who I’m caregiver for, financial) related to May 2 knee replacement. And want to be focusing on God!

    • Robin, the burdens you’re carrying seem so heavy! Praying with you for God to give you His peace and to provide for your needs in this season. May He show Himself to you as your comfort, your Friend, your helper, and the One who heals. Lord, fill Robin with courage as she waits on you! Amen.

  14. Hilde says:

    Shopping

    • Hilde, you’ve heard the Spirit inviting you to turn from shopping to Him to satisfy your heart! Wonderful! Praying with you for His help to stay in step with Him in your spending habits. He loves you so much and will give you all you need as you draw close to Him in this. God bless you, my friend!

  15. Diane says:

    Loneliness

    • Diane, I’m so sorry you feel alone right now. I’m praying with you for God to send a caring person into your life who will love you with Jesus’ love. And, I’m praying that God will reveal His close presence to you so you can know Him as your dearest friend and companion. May He guard your heart from worry and discouragement as you wait for Him to relieve your loneliness. My heart is with you in this! Amen.

  16. Pam B says:

    Financial blessing,and healing, shelter for son with mental health.

    • Pam, in matters of money and the well-being of our kids, anxiety can feel overwhelming. I’m praying with you for God to provide for your needs and the care of your son. Also praying for powerful healing in your lives. May He keep you close to him every day so that as you abide, you find courage and peace.

  17. Esther E says:

    For Christy having struggles in her recovery from the past. And may be thrown out in the street with her 2yr old daughter by her uncle.
    I have her 5yr old son I’m adopting.
    Mercy forgiveness and family healing needed Dear God for my family. Please pray for us GIG

    • Thank you for sharing, Esther. Lord God, we cry out to you for mercy and help for Christy and her little girl. Let Christy take hold of You in faith and receive strength to overcome her addictions. Give her what she needs to parent her daughter with wisdom and faithful love. Provide for her urgent need for stable, safe housing. Bless Esther with your grace in mothering this precious boy. Knit their hearts together and grow this child in health and trusting knowledge of You. Hold this entire family in your hands and help them, dear Father. Be their peace as you show yourself to be so, so good in their lives. Amen.

  18. Nicola King says:

    Fear

    • Nicola, God knows your fears and also your heart’s desire to trust Him more and more. I’m praying with you for confident faith to place all your problems and hurts in His hands. Asking God for a filling of peace and the strength to capture every anxious thought and meditate instead on God’s promises to care for you. God bless you, sister!

  19. Denise Walker says:

    For my health to improve

    Praying for Bernadette

    • Denise, I’m praying with you for greater strength and healing in your body today. And as you wait for God to do this work, for faith to trust Him without giving in to worry and defeat. May God bless you and Bernadette with His comfort and help in your struggles. Thank you for sharing with us!

  20. Bindi says:

    Worry of lack of finances for my family.
    Praying for you Denise that Gid will heal you, that your faith and dependency on him will increase and give you the peace in your heart and in your body. Xx

    • Bindi, our thoughts fall into fear and worry so easily, don’t they? Praying with you for God to provide for your family’s needs right now. And also for Him to provide encouragement and strength to keep believing in Him as your Source. Thank you for sharing your heart today so we can pray together!

  21. Tiffany says:

    This isn’t one word, but an area I would appreciate prayer for is my emotions and thinking. To learn how to have a better relationship with my emotions, especially the hard ones. To not flee from them or treat them as a threat, but to exercise self-control and let the emotion serve me in the way it’s supposed to. And through this to experience emotional healing, freedom, and health.

    Bindi, here’s my prayer for you to the Lord.

    Lord Jesus, We praise You and acknowledge You as the Source of our supply. Stinginess is not in Your nature, nor is wrong timing. With that in mind, I lift up sweet Bindi to You. I ask that You’d show her today in some tangible way that You haven’t forgotten about her financial struggles, but rather, that you are indeed on the move. I ask that You would provide abundantly where there is lack, continue to transform her into an increasingly mature financial steward, and show here ways where provision has already arrived (for example, a car that can be sold, a talent that can be used as a side hustle, asking for a raise). I also ask, Jesus, that You would activate the givers near her. Put Bindi and her family on the hearts of the generous and stir them to gladly act in love and good deed toward Bindi’s family. I pray this in Your Name, Jesus. Amen.

  22. Heather says:

    Growth in my marriage

  23. Heather says:

    Bindi, praying that God will bless your family financially, and that He will grow and sustain you all as you wait and trust that he will provide in his perfect timing and his perfect way.

  24. Heather says:

    Tiffany, am praying for strength, courage,perseverence,self awareness and comfort as you grow and mature emotionally. May your emotional journey be fruitful and at the pace God wants for you.

  25. Carole says:

    health issues and finances

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