Deny Self and Gain Control


By Carolyn Dale Newell

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age

Titus 2:11-12 NKJV

Self-control appears last in the list of spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:22-23). However, it is certainly not least. How can we express love to someone who has hurt us without self-discipline? We can convey gentleness rather than anger towards someone when we show restraint over our emotions. Controlling the often uncontrollable is a necessary and important fruit.

I have found the best way to possess self-constraint is to deny myself unimportant things for no other reason than to exert my ability to say, “No”. For example, I can turn down a dessert, even a sugar-free one, by saying “No”. I can deny the urge to check Facebook or Twitter simply because I can say, “No”. Next time you are shopping and you find a gorgeous top on sale, try denying yourself from buying it – unless you really do need it.

When we learn to deny ourselves trivial things, we learn self-control. It will help us have greater discipline about our prayer and Bible study time. It may even help us save money or lose weight, but you will notice one great benefit.

When you deny self, you will gain control in other areas of life. That person who can set you off in a split second will be a little easier to deal with. You are learning to control the part of you that just wants to be out-of-control. We may find we gain a bit more patience, a little more kindness, and even more love.

Self-control is ultimately a fruit of the Holy Spirit. We are learning to keep our flesh out of the way. Let’s commit to pray about it. God wants to endow us with these fruits. When one is willing, God will make a way.


Fill us with Spirit-controlled discipline. Help us start with the small stuff, so we may see the fruit when it matters. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Read Galatians 5:16-26.


Which of the following can you deny yourself this week by saying, “No”?


  • Desserts
  • Social media
  • Shopping
  • Television

Copyright 2015 Carolyn Dale Newell.


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