When I was a new mom, I felt like my kids needed more self-control. Ha! Obviously. Parenting would be a lot easier with self-controlled kids.
Selfishness comes naturally. Self-control? Not so much.
Thankfully, the Bible gives us some really great insight on why and how to attain self-control in our lives–as a kid or a grown-up!
Here are 5 verses we’ve memorized in my family, plus some fun activities to go with them. Go ahead, ask my kids. They know these by heart!
5 Bible Memory Verses for Kids About Self-Control
Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Introducing our children to the Fruit of the Spirit can seem like a big overwhelming checklist of goals to attain. Instead, it should be an awesome gift list God gives to us. In turn, it can be a prayer list for us to ask God to develop in our own lives.
Family Activity Idea: Do a little fruity kool-aid painting. Grab a few packets of kool-aid, add water and use it as paint. Paint your own pictures of fruit, the Bible verse or print off these fun fruit coloring sheets.
Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)
Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.
The Bible is so full of great imagery! I can tell you from experience that explaining to your out-of-control kid that they are like a city whose walls are broken down is always very sobering. We know the Bible is useful for teaching and correcting and this is a perfect example. When we see our child lacking self-control, use this verse to help him understand the terrible results.
Family Activity Idea: Use boxes and/or blocks to create a wall around a favorite toy. Discuss how the toy is protected. Then, knock down part of the wall and talk about how the toy is not protected. Have your child consider which way seems better to him. Then, remind him that self-control keeps that protection around him, too!
Proverbs 29:11 (NIRV)
Foolish people let their anger run wild. But wise people keep themselves under control.
Here’s another verse with vivid words that won’t leave your mind! My daughter and I memorized this one when she was very little and have both reminded each other about letting our anger run wild many times.
Family Activity Idea: Make a wild and foolish person poster and quote the verse as you create.
1 Peter 5:8-9 (adapted)
Control yourselves. Be on your guard. Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow. Stand up to him. Stand firm in what you believe.
Self-control is the preeminent virtue that will keep us from our enemy and his evil plans for us. He comes to steal, kill and destroy—to chew and swallow us up! But, when we are self-controlled, we can be on our guard and stand firm in God and His truth!
Family Activity Idea: Make your own Monster Mash to help you stay on guard!
2 Timothy 1:7 (NIRV)
God didn’t give us a spirit that makes us weak and fearful. He gave us a spirit that gives us power and love. It helps us control ourselves.
I really like this New International Reader’s Version because it divides this oft-quoted verse into small sentences. The last sentence is the one I like, “It helps us control ourselves.” And that’s just it. God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us control ourselves! It’s not white-knuckled self-control, but a loving, powerful Holy Spirit who helps us.
Family Activity Idea: Memorize this verse with your family by making up motions for each word. Then, repeat the verse with one word missing and replace it with your motion. Continue to do so until you are only doing the motions to the verse without talking.
Self-control can seem like an overwhelming virtue to tackle. Hide these Scriptures in your heart and help your kids do the same so you can reap the benefits that God has for the self-controlled life!
Download a printable for these 5 Bible Memory Verses About Self-Control