The Power of Self-Control

It should be simple to win with our money. We’ve all heard the axioms that we should “spend less than we make” and to “save money for a rainy day.” Financial principles are shared throughout Scripture. Proverbs 21:5 shares with us that “the plans of the diligent lead to profit.” In other words, we should have a budget – a financial plan. Proverbs 22:7 cautions us against debt when it shares that “the borrower is slave to the lender.” We’re instructed to have diversified investments in Ecclesiastes 11:2 when we’re challenged to “Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.”

This great wisdom is available to us all, yet the vast majority of people struggle mightily to manage their money in a way that pleases and honors God. Why is it that we know we should save money for a rainy day, yet we do not do it? What causes us to spend more than we make even though we know better? I believe it is because we have not activated one of the greatest fruits of the spirit – self-control.

Satan is a real enemy. He knows if he can keep a person financially broken, he can keep them ineffective. He can keep them focused on themselves and in financial bondage. One of his greatest tools is pride. When faced with something we want to purchase (but haven’t saved for), he will whisper a sweet lie like, “Go ahead. You deserve it.” In that moment, we all have a choice. Will we activate that great fruit of the spirit called “self-control”? Or will we give in to pride and make the purchase knowing full well we are spending money we don’t have?

Choose instead to activate self-control in your life, allowing the spirit to help you! When activated, self-control will help you avoid so much pain and misery – in your finances and beyond. Self-control will lead you to prepare a budget each and every month. It will help you put God first in your finances through tithing the first 10-percent of your income. It will allow you to trust Him with the remaining 90-percent. This one key fruit of the spirit will compel you to save some money so you can accommodate financial challenges without pain. Investing your money will become a priority – for college education, retirement, and long-term dreams God has given you.

Ultimately, the great power that self-control provides you is the ability to form good habits. The habit of generosity. A habit of saving. A habit of planning. Why not form good habits? They are just as difficult to break as bad ones!

Have some areas in your life you feel are “out of control?” Pray right now for God to activate self-control in your life. Then move forward to live in the freedom it provides!

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Joseph Sangl is a leading teacher of personal finances. It is his passion to help people accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances. He believes when people are financially free, they are much more likely to go do exactly what they have been put on earth to do – regardless of the income potential.

He is the founder of I Was Broke. Now I’m Not., an organization that provides financial teaching through live events, print and web resources. He is also the President and CEO of INJOY Stewardship Solutions, a company that provides solutions that resource the vision of the local church. To learn more, visit or follow him on twitter @joesangl

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