Self-control (enkrateia): restraint of one’s emotions, impulses, or desires; self-control
2 Samuel 11:1-5 David provides us with an excellent example of the disastrous consequences that unravel when we lack self-control. In this case, a single impulse that he could have easily overcome led to increasingly more difficult circumstances.
Self-control is telling yourself “no” when you’re tempted to do something wrong and “yes” when you don’t feel like doing something right.
Mark 14:53-63 Jesus provides a sterling counterexample to David. Instead of allowing his own desires or others to push him around, he stays true to God even in the most stressful moments. He knew the prophecy and conformed his behavior to it, even though it was excruciatingly difficult (Isaiah 53:7). Even when he hung on the cross, he continued to resist sin, deceit, returning insults, or uttering threats
(1 Peter 2:21-23).
Mark 2:14-20 Self-control can become a vice if we overdo it. The Pharisees so trained themselves to control the minutiae of their lives that they devolved into legalism and self-righteousness. They even looked down their noses and accused the only perfect man of not living up to their standards!
Although the Pharisees are famous for going to the maximum with self-control, there was a group of Christians who made the Pharisees look free-spirited. In the sparse reports we have about them, we have the name Ecratites, which translated literally means something like “Self-Controllers.” This group didn’t believe in eating meat, drinking anything but water, or sexual intercourse even within marriage. Even so, Scripture warns us not to fall into such extremes (1 Timothy 4:1-5).