Self-control is the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, desires, and behavior especially when confronted with temptations and impulses. Self-control is how we direct ourselves. There are several types of self-control including perceived control, cognitive control, emotional control, motivational control, desire control, inhibitory control, social control, ego control, effort control, etc. Self-control and will are linked. How much I control myself depends on how much willpower I have.
An example of self-control is when I want to lose weight and gain muscle mass. Doing this involves controlling what and how much I eat and when and how long I exercise. Resisting the temptation to eat free donuts at work starts with the will to keep to my plan to lose weight. If my will is strong I will resist thoughts of imagining the experience of eating donuts, suppress the emotion of anticipation, remind myself of my goals, and walk away and forget the donuts are there. Exercise donut self-control enough leads to diminished donut temptation’s power to break my will.
Self-control is learned (12). It is a core body function that can be strengthened with use just like muscles are strengthened. Salvation from the weak will and weak self-control is a gracious gift of God through the Holy Spirit (11). The Holy Spirit teaches us to say “No” (12).
God’s concern is with character for it is where the core body functions reside. God enables and educates me so that my character is like Jesus’. As I mature in Christ my will and self-control are strengthened so I can say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions. God develops me so that I can live a self-controlled, upright, and godly life in this present age (12). I am redeemed and being redeemed for all self-wickedness (14). I am purified (14). One item that is purified in me through the Spirit is self-control.