This week’s character trait is self-control. It can be defined as instant obedience to the initial promptings of God’s Spirit. It’s controlling one’s emotions, desires, or actions by power of the will. It’s that quality that stops you from doing things you want to do, that might not be in your best interest. It’s self-restraint in the face of temptation.
Self-control is bypassing chocolate cake for carrot sticks instead. It’s putting down the television remote or good book and lacing up the walking shoes. It’s biting your tongue until it bleeds … or walking away before your mouth gets you into trouble. It’s making time in a busy day to call or email a friend who’s had a rough time.
But what motivates us to make the right choices? Is it guilt based in our up-bringing? A strong sense of justice or obligation to live by an internal code? Is it fear of repercussions or losing face? Or is it a desire for the rewards of a well-ordered life?
Personally, I prefer the positive reinforcement.
(In case you need more discussion, see what I wrote about this fruit of the Spirit last summer.)
What about you? How easy is it for you to resist temptation? What helps? How does one get better at this trait?