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Teaching Your Children - Self Control

Updated: Feb 20, 2020

It’s time for our final lesson on the fruits of the spirit! I hope that you have enjoyed this series thus far, and are already seeing the “fruits” of it within your home! Remember that none of these lessons have to be formal or perfect. If the most you do is memorize the scripture together, that’s enough! The goal is to be planting seeds in their heart, no matter how you do it!

The final fruit we’re covering today is self-control. You know, that thing you wish you had at 10 pm when the snack craving hits you and you’re headed for a bowl of cereal, ice cream, or just straight peanut butter? Yep. Every night.

Self-control seems so simple on paper, doesn’t it? Every year, we reset our goals and tell ourselves that this will be the year we simply say “no” to that gossip-filled conversation with friends, crude tv show at night, or angry outburst at our family. We tell ourselves we are going to speak kinder words, guard our hearts and eyes, or stop making food our god. After all, if we are in control of our own bodies, how hard can it be? Yet, two weeks in, we find ourselves falling short.

God’s word says, “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.” (Titus 2:11-12)

God knew we would need grace because of our sinful nature to be drawn towards worldly passions. He knew that controlling our flesh would be difficult and it’s no surprise to him when we fail, but he also calls us to strive to live upright, godly lives. So the hope in this is his grace which covers our failures, but the motivation is his love which draws us to keep pursuing a walk that pleases him.

Our children need to know that they will never be perfect or able to completely avoid failures, and that with an enemy of our souls lurking around every corner, there are going to be times when we fail. However, they also need to know that self-control is possible when the source fueling it is Jesus.

For this lesson, my children and I sat down and wrote out things that could be temptations onto sticky notes. We came up with eating junk food, talking back, stealing, lying, and sneaking baby kittens into the house — because you know, who doesn’t get tempted by that idea? After writing them down, I got out a fan and plugged it into the wall. The girls stood in front of the fan holding the sticky notes while I turned it on high, and they giggled with delight as they watched them fly away. We repeated this three more times with the fan on medium, low, and then off. Afterwards, we talked about the force the fan had on the paper when it was on high versus medium, low, or off. I explained that the power being pulled into the fan is like Jesus. When we spend more time in relationship with him, it’s easier to fight off temptation because we have the power of God working in us. However, when we shut off that power connection, we no longer have that force pushing against the temptation.

We also memorized 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

I don’t know about you, but I need this reminder daily. I need to be reminded that self-control is only possible if my source is not myself, and that all things are possible through him. Would you join me in printing this verse and hanging it on your fridge? Every time you're tempted to fall back into whatever worldly way God is calling you out of, begin to speak that verse over yourself. And then do the same with the other verses in this series! Set the example for your children of the importance of declaring scripture in your life to see change. For the scripture is eternal and life-giving, and will stay with your children long after you are gone.

Download this beautiful Bible verse printable as well as all of the others from this series here! Plus you’ll get the family dinner discussion cards!

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