Enkrateia: Lack of Self Control

The Greeks had a word, enkrateia, which is: “A serious lack of self-control. ”
Self Control. What is it actually? It has various meanings, “inner power or strength, mastery of something, the controlling of the will, the inner strength to resist, the strength not to indulge.” It involves the ability to say “no” to our desires and lusts. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galations 5:22-23
Why are most people now so out of shape? Is it overindulgence, lack of exercise or lack of hard work? “You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.”  James 5: 5  Could it be as simple as lack of self-control maybe?
Think of the lack of self-control we display with our internet usage, tv viewing, and other activities. If the power goes out or internet quits working, near panic sets in for some. When people will NOT turn off these time-wasters to give their minds and eyes a much-needed rest then we are in serious trouble. We are fed bad news, violence, questionable sitcoms, innuendo, biased opinions and all other sorts of vile things. We welcome it into our homes through our devices.  Philippians 4:8 states, Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”   Do the hours of news, repeating the same “breaking news” over and over do any good for you.  No, it brings fears and worries.  A lack of mental self-control lets us sit for hours binge watching programs, one after another or glued to news so you won’t miss any tidbit of new information. Do you have the tv guide memorized more than you have scripture memorized?


Children are now “addicted” to apps and other types of diversions from the time they can hold a cellphone. Their parents put these in their little hands to occupy them. Companies make them more childproof now. Such great apps, colors, sounds, music and animated creatures, to keep them amused. We start them young now. From children to adults, we entertain and amuse, instead of reading, enjoying silence or time with family. God speaks in a still, small voice, but are we drowning it out with so much “entertainment?”   God can get our attention in other ways if we won’t listen.
Self-control in our thoughts and emotions is by the power of God as believers yield to the Lord in obedience. With God’s help, we can live above sinful practices, as well as be counsel to other Christians which allows the fruit of self-control to grow.
  • “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature”        (Galatians 5:16)
  • “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose”           (Philippians 2:3)
It is important to the body of Christ to help others.
  • “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently” (Galatians 6:1)
  • “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10)
So work on your self-control, asking for God’s power.  Pray for the strength needed to defeat all the distractions thrown at us.  Remember it is the devil who seeks to destroy our relationships with God and others.  He does that by distractions that leave us separated in our own solo worlds with little interaction from others.