NOUN | self re·straint

a control over the expression of one’s emotions, thoughts or actions; the ability to delay gratification

synonyms: discipline, discretion, inhibition, refrainment, repression, reserve, constraint, self-command, self-control, self-restraint, suppression

The importance of self-restraint in a culture saturated with instant gratification cannot be overstated. Research shows that self-control—the ability to delay gratification—is closely linked with success. Modern psychology might assume that self-restraint is simply deciding between two equal options and then determining whether to delay or pursue. But that assumes that all options are morally equal or that individual are capable of self-restraint. The key to self-restraint is understanding that we are incapable of self-restraining our sinful wants and desires. It is only with a heart that has been regenerated (changed) through the transformation by Christ, and is now under the control of the Holy Spirit, can one truly live a life marked by self-restraint. The Holy Spirit does not control our emotions for us.  Instead, he gives us the power to do so. This is key because students must practice the habit of self-restraint while understanding that self-restraint requires the daily habit of prayer in order to release this power.

Those who do not have the ability to delay gratification will be sidetracked by the more attractive, albeit lesser, end (Tripp 65). Additionally, intrinsic motivation rather than just extrinsic rewards is inherent in self-control, and self-control is critical for boring, mundane, or seemingly pointless tasks that still must be finished (U.S. Dept. of Ed. report 43).

Immanuel Christian High School students will learn to find motivation beyond external rewards and success and will develop the ability to wait for God’s best in life. In order to know what is best students must know what Scripture says is best. This will require strength of mind and heart because the culture will affirm that self-restraint is not worth the effort. Self-restraint is more than just saying no to the bad; it also includes postponing the good, knowing that God has something better. God calls us to self-control as a manifestation of God’s grace through salvation.

Titus 2:11-13 (NIV)

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from
all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are
his very own, eager to do what is good.