3 Bible Stories to Teach Your Kids About Self-Control

By Melanie Rainer


When I think about self-control, the first thing that comes to mind certainly isn’t kids under the age of 10. Or 15. Or 20. Or 25. Or 30 . . . Or 40, 50, 60 . . . self-control is HARD, no matter how old you are! 

And yet, the Bible has a lot to say about this particular fruit of the Spirit. How do we even begin to cultivate a spirit of self-control in kids? 

As kids reach different stages of neurological development, self-control becomes more attainable. Toddlers and young preschoolers have very little impulse control, and elementary kids aren’t much better (neurologically speaking). But these precious years provide so many opportunities to plant seeds that the Holy Spirit will grow in our kids as they mature. Little by little, they’ll grow in self-control as they learn in small ways at first (ignoring the yummy cookies on the kitchen counter) and then bigger ways (not hitting their brother or sister, even though they really, really want to) and eventually, even bigger ways (how to avoid the temptations that come in adolescence and adulthood).

One awesome way to start teaching your kids about self-control is by reading them Bible stories that talk about self-control.

3 Bible Stories to Teach Your Kids About Self-Control

David and Saul

1 Samuel 24

Bible Truth: Because I trust God, I can use self-control.

Saul was chasing David and trying to kill him. David spent many days and nights hiding, and someone told Saul where David was. Saul went into a cave to use the bathroom, and David and his men were hiding in there! David snuck up and cut off a piece of Saul’s robe without him knowing. But David could have killed Saul, who was trying to kill him! David showed self-control because he knew that God still wanted Saul to be king. David said to Saul, “For by the fact that I cut off the corner of your robe and did not kill you, you may know and see that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you hunt my life to take it. May the LORD judge between me and you, may the LORD avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you.” (1 Samuel 24:11–12). 

David knew that God had a plan, and he trusted God, even though he could have acted to protect himself and kill his enemy! David showed self-control because he knew God’s plan needed to be in God’s timing. 

Related Memory Verse: For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

Continue the conversation about gentleness by watching Minno Church at Home this week or these shows streaming now on Minno: 

What’s in the Bible?: The People Want a King

Read and Share Bible: David is Chased


Nehemiah 4

Bible Truth: I can use self-control even when it’s hard.

Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem to rebuilds its walls after the exodus. While he and others were building the wall, armies from nearby came and started to attack them! Nehemiah showed self-control and didn’t fight back. Instead, he stationed some of his men to be guards while the others worked. Nehemiah knew that God would protect them. He acted calmly and with self-control. 

Related Memory Verse: Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control that one who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32 NIV

Continue the conversation about gentleness by watching Minno Church at Home this week or these shows streaming now on Minno: 

Topsy Turvy: Nehemiah

What’s in the Bible? Ezra and Nehemiah

Jesus in the Wilderness 

Matthew 4:1–11

Bible Truth: Jesus helps me when I’m tempted.

After His baptism, Jesus went to the wilderness for 40 days. While He was there, Satan came to tempt Him. Jesus showed self-control. Satan offered Him control over the whole world, but Jesus knew that God’s kingdom would eventually be the only kingdom. Jesus is the perfect expression of all the fruits of the Spirit, including self-control. Jesus is kindness, goodness, love, and patience. We can look to Jesus and pray to become more like Him in every way, including self-control. 

Related Memory Verse: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him. Matthew 4:10 CEV

Continue the conversation about gentleness by watching Minno Church at Home this week or this show streaming now on Minno: 

Read and Share Bible: Jesus Tempted by Satan


Download these 5 Bible Memory Verses for Kids About Self-Control to help your family hide God’s Word in your heart as you learn this important Fruit of the Spirit!