Self Control, AGAIN? While I typically like to repeat WOW Words every two years, there is such a need in our home right now that we had to do this word again! When I asked my older boys what self control looked like, they could tell me what it was not but had a hard time verbalizing what it was, so here we are. Where do we even start with such a deep and broad word?
First, we print out the WOW Word and post it where it will be seen. Even if you have little ones that are not readers yet, posting the word is a reminder for us, Mama’s, to incorporate this every chance we get! I believe hearing the word “Self Control” and becoming familiar with it, is the first step in understanding what it truly is.
This time around, I really want my boys to know how to use self control… so this is the definition I am repeating (in bits and pieces) every single day, as much as I can.
Self Control is Inner Strength! It’s acting in a way that is pleasing to God by controlling our impulses. Impulses can be thoughts, words and actions. With help from the Holy Spirit, we can train our brain to resist every impulse that pops in our head. This looks like limiting myself to one or two cookies instead of ten, not exploding in anger when I lose a game, although it’s okay to be disappointed. Taking time to clean up my toys before I run to the next activity and resisting the urge to interrupt when others are talking.
When I first introduced this word, I made chocolate chip cookies for the boys to eat as I told them a Bible story before bedtime. I didn’t realize what a perfect example this would be until… they started begging for more cookies! “What does self control look like right now?” I asked. We decided that it looked like eating 1-2 cookies, although they felt like eating more. Another teachable moment arose when the boys began to interrupt (me and one another). And, I asked again, “What does self control look like right now when you want to say something but someone else is talking?” The look on their faces told me that I had planted the seed of the need for self control.
Jesus used scripture to withstand Satan’s temptation, and we can too! Print this month’s verse from James 1:19 and teach kids to use it as a tool. Then, repeat it aloud daily to help them stay in control of their emotions and body! For older children, use this decoding memory verse!
Jesus is Tempted- Luke 4:1-13
My boys are always more engaged when I share a story with them in an unexpected place. So, we headed to the treehouse, and I grabbed a tray with sand, blocks, grass, stones, and peg people! Then, I told them the story from Luke chapter 4, focusing on the fact that Jesus must have been SO hungry after not having anything to eat for forty days. And, I pointed out, verse 2 even says, “he was hungry.” Jesus felt hungry but that feeling didn’t control him when Satan asked if he could turn the stone into bread, he responded with scripture.
During the second temptation, Satan says authority and splendor had been given to him and he could give it to anyone he wanted. But that was a LIE. Sometimes, we are tempted to act impulsively, so people will think we’re funny or because we think something will make us happy, but it’s not true. Verse 8 reminds us to not desire/worship anything more than Jesus. Acting in a way that is pleasing to God is most important.
During the third temptation, the devil twists the truth, but Jesus continues to answer with scripture. I told the boys this is why it is essential that we KNOW God’s word, so we can discern the difference between truth and lies.
This convicted me to pray that our kids would have a love and hunger for God’s word so that they would have the tools to withstand Satan’s schemes. I ended our time by asking what Jesus used to help him stay in control and not give in to impulses…”his sword” they all yelled!
“…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”Ephesians 6:17
It can be overwhelming… but remember that it’s impossible for us to teach our children everything they need to know about self control. However, if we are intentional about setting up an environment that encourages questions and thoughtfulness about Jesus and his word, the Holy Spirit will do more than we can ever ask or imagine.